What do I want

I’m still counting down the days to trauma therapy… four more. One of the things the trauma therapist asked for was a document explaining what I hoped for our time together. What I want to accomplish. Here’s what I sent her. I honestly didn’t know what to say. It was difficult to write out how dysfunctional I feel. I didn’t want to be back in this place. I thought I was stronger than this. I know now that I need to show my weakness in order to be truly strong. This I have learned.

I’ll start with a little history. After our sessions in May/June 2014, I felt I was in an okay place. I would have liked to continue seeing you for a much longer time (forever), but the travel back and forth to LA was wearing on both me and Blue Eyes, both physically and financially.

Blue Eyes had been to Omar’s intensive (June 2014) and I had struggled mightily prior to that intensive (being only 5-6 months post discovery of Blue Eyes’ secret life) and after the intensive as well. You may remember I had cut my arm and required 16 stitches after a particularly traumatizing disclosure/self-harm incident, at the time of our first sessions together. I did continue to self-harm very occasionally for at least another year.

Blue Eyes had abruptly decided to stop seeing Omar after that intensive. He had his reasons and I agreed with him. We both believe Omar was instrumental in getting to the core of Blue Eyes’ childhood wounds, and the intensive was tantamount to lighting a fire under his recovery, but as you know, recovery is a very slow process.

We struggled for months and months. I was unable to really find any decent therapy in Portland, so I just relied on time and my own resources (and my blog). Blue Eyes connected with a therapist who was not a CSAT but had worked with many addicts including a couple dozen sex addicts. We tried couple’s therapy with a CSAT, which was actually a very disheartening experience for me as I went from feeling like a fly on the wall of therapy appointments that were exclusively focused on Blue Eyes and how difficult recovery is… or being blamed for Blue Eyes’ bad behavior. I kid you not. Old School SA therapy and the co-dependent model are well and strong out in the CSAT world. I didn’t last long in couple’s therapy.

As Blue Eyes started really recovering (12-step has been a huge part of this, especially the friendships he has made with men who really understand him) I started healing. That took between 3-4 years. I still don’t completely trust him, and my brain constantly reverts back to feeling like he threw me under the bus. I no longer ruminate on the things he did, but I constantly toss out comments about how he might be better off with someone else. It’s not that I feel like I’m not good enough… more that I just want him gone sometimes. He literally sucks the energy out of me with his neediness and ungroundedness.

I don’t feel the deep pain anymore, I don’t cry all the time, I can function at work, etc… but I feel numb a lot. Add to that that we have been in arbitration with the builder of our beach house for over two years and in October we spent four horrifying days in an arbitration hearing that seemed completely rigged. Even though contractually we were covered, and the law should have been on our side (and our attorney promised us from the beginning that it was), the panel found against us and we now owe an additional $800,000 to the unscrupulous and negligent builder who was paid in full for his contract, but went $420,000+ over budget (without any authorization), plus his attorney fees. Not only was the hearing torture for me as the other side’s attorney is a red-faced disgusting misogynist bully who reminded me of my abusive Dad (I actually burst into tears in the middle of him questioning our architect/designer), it also feels like a complete betrayal of who I am… an honest person. The beach house was meant to be a sanctuary for our healing, and it has turned into a nightmare. The house was custom built and is gorgeous. We absolutely love it, otherwise we would sell it. I’m not going to let the builder, or the obviously broken system, destroy that house for me. BUT it has brought up a lot of the same feelings from the betrayal trauma. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is this happening to me? I just don’t have the mental reserves any more for the stress.

About a week into dealing with this new reality and trying to figure out how to come up with money we don’t have and figure out why the system seems to be punishing us for having done absolutely nothing wrong, our Portland house was broken into by the meth addict.

Since that time, I have been on the edge of my own sanity. For days I thought I saw blood everywhere. I really didn’t want to be out of the house as I felt like people were just too close to me, or that some random guy was a meth addict and was going to attack me. I feel tense, and weak, depleted, and just sad. No matter how much sleep I get, I’m tired. I’m at the edge of tears, when I don’t feel completely numb. Then, on top of the rest of it, Blue Eyes has decided to reconcile with his parents after six years no contact. I’m not quite sure what I am feeling about this, but I think it feels like another kind of betrayal. He knows his parents are cruel and so difficult to deal with and have been really mean to me and my kids. They were mean and neglectful of Blue Eyes for 50 years… this he now knows. He wants to have a relationship with his aging father. Maybe I should have told him I didn’t want to be involved, but I have tried really hard to be a team player in all this. I’m just so tired and I think I feel betrayed that he would want this in our lives after everything else. Or I guess I feel like he should want to protect me from further trauma after everything he has done, but his needs are more important.

At this point I honestly feel used. Add to that, menopause. I am officially through menopause, which just means that my hormones are out of whack and sexual intercourse is painful sometimes. It is now quite obvious how much Blue Eyes uses me for sex. It’s easy to rationalize that sex is a healthy part of an intimate relationship, but I am married to a sex addict who uses sex to soothe every ache and pain, especially emotional. Because of everything he has done, sex no longer holds the same intimate connection it once did for me and when he seems to “need” it, it just brings up all the baggage from the sexual relationships he shared with other women. It’s a turn off and with all the current trauma, his neediness is exacerbating my distaste for any intimate connection with him. I just get little flashes in my head of all his bad acts. Like my body is warning me of danger.

And, another drag on my energy, family. I am still the one everyone turns to to hold things together. Since I was little, I have been a caretaker and there really is no one to step in for me when I need a little help. We talked a lot about this in our initial sessions, but I am just now realizing how much my own childhood has affected me. One or two hits and I’m still standing… this many hits and I just don’t want to get up anymore.

I want to address what I must do in order to change how I interact with other people. I want to be stronger. I want to address what is bringing me to such a deep low. I want to deal with some of the trauma related feelings I have… intrusive thoughts, nervous energy, not wanting to leave the house. This past weekend for example, Blue Eyes and I talked about numerous activities we would do, but then I just decided I didn’t want to leave the house. I don’t understand this. It’s like I’m two different people… my old self: healthy, active, confident, and then this new Kat, who is too tired to do anything at all.

34 thoughts on “What do I want

  1. I missed this earlier – and regret not being able to add to the comments before you headed out to see the trauma therapist. I wanted to thank you for sharing your story. To say it’s been traumatic is an understatement. I don’t know how you’ve managed to keep on going.
    The addiction itself would be hard enough to bear – but then throw in what happened with the builders and meth addict and it would feel like too much for everyone. It’s just been one awful thing after another awful thing, with no time to recover properly. It’s a nightmare to read, never mind live through.
    I’m so incredibly sorry you’ve gone through this, Kat.
    I hope that you found this therapist helpful and supportive. You deserve to find someone who can help you with this mess, and can carry some of the weight for you. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, DLH. This is the same trauma therapist I went to shortly after discovery. She is amazing at her job. I am so glad I went. She gets it, she really does. All the trauma, along with my personality, it’s just stressful and my body is letting me know I need to handle it better. I feel really lucky to be working with her. I feel so much better and have renewed energy and resources. Thank you so much for your words. This blog including all the wonderfully compassionate followers has been such a blessing for me. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for taking the time to reply. That sounds really wonderful. What a difference it makes to be working with someone who truly gets it. You feel as if you are being held by someone who genuinely understands and cares.
        There’s such a close interconnection between our mind and body. And when our body starts send messages to us, we know we need to take things seriously. I’m glad you are allowing yourself to do that at the moment.
        Have you read any of Gabor Mate’s books, such as “When the Body Says no”? He’s a very helpful and insightful writer. There are loads of podcasts by him on youtube, too.
        I noticed someone also mentioned Rob Weiss’ books. I would say he is one of the best writers on sex addiction. He really understands the wife’s perspective.
        Anyway, just a few random suggestions in case you’re in the mood for reading 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you. I haven’t read much about sex addiction in about 5 years. So much of it was triggering to me, even if it was meant to help me heal. Reading for me is one of my “escapes” so I try and read things that entertain. I’m going to make an exception and read Joshua’s book. It’s short. 🙂 I’ve been dealing with being the wife of a sex addict for this long, I know what it’s like. What I needed from the trauma therapist was to work on releasing some of the trauma from recent events. The stress was overwhelming me and making it more difficult to accept things I was previously managing. I don’t know why I have an adversity to reading about the situation I’m in. I guess I’m not really a self help book kind of person. I find living it absorbs enough of my energy. Thank you for the suggestions though. I may try a podcast or two. xoxo

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, just living it absorbs way too much energy! The only thing that matters is doing what’s right for you, and it sounds like you’ve found that in the trauma therapist 🙂 I’m so glad you were able to see her. Thanks for the replies XXX

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Kat, you and BE are in the prime earning years of your lives and an ACES score of 2 does not mitigate all the damage that BE’s ACES score brings to your marriage. By now, many of your peers are really a team with many fewer relationship/marriage trauma’s than you and your husband have and are able to focus on the future and making solid plans together as you navigate the future. BE undermined your trust, your marriage and all of your marriage expectations and despite his and your progress, his behavior and self-hate has created a serious challenge to your marital bond and your own healing. This is not an easy fix, especially since it sounds like BE continues to struggle with his own sobriety healing and the necessary behavior changes. You described this clearly in the past. “Being sexually sober is not enough” says it all. Your expectations for a new marriage relationship are fairly clear however he appears to be unable to really understand this. On another blog I read about a wife who was so perfectly clear about what she wanted and expected from her husband and his initial challenge to accept and comply with her specific needs because he had always operated in his own sphere of selfishness that included a zillion excuses why he was unable to do what she asked. It took time but he was finally able to comply and now they are almost at 5 years out and seem to be doing well. She was very specific. Things like, “I want you to call me at 9:45 AM. I want you to be home at 6 PM for dinner. I want you to take Saturday off. I want you to take me to dinner and a movie instead of playing golf. I want you to talk to me before you make ANY plans with ANYONE including your family.” (sounds like her husband’s family is similar to BE’s family. Ouch/blech) She told her husband she wanted the same respect and attention he gave to his clients. He would never stand up a client or forget to call a client but she got the dregs and decided that would never be acceptable again. She made him write her into his schedule on busy weeks so they could have lunch together, just like he did with clients. It forced him to see her in a different light.

    I try to be open minded and understanding of people’s family of origin issues but at some point we all have to grow up and accept that we cannot change that and no amount of sucking up or making amends will change anyone else. The changes we make are for us and nobody else unless you are the betrayer who wants to salvage their family and change their own behavior. My ACES score is pretty high and that knowledge is power when I really need it. It allows me to understand that I am not that child anymore and those things are no longer happening to and around me. I get to make different choices now and so does my husband whose score is even higher than mine! Like most people, he may forget to call about something but now, when that happens, he is so apologetic and remorseful instead of hostile and defensive about his shortcomings. This has been huge.

    I wish you much healing as your walk through this season of trauma therapy. You have a well of resilience that is part of the fabric of your life and you clearly know when that trait needs supportive services. I wish for you some peace around your situation and the wisdom and courage to stay the course that your heart and mind lead you on. Bad things happen to good people all the time. It just sucks when some of us seem to get more than our share. Big hugs to you on your journey to health.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marie for your thoughtful and kind and understanding comment. I would say that there are definite issues with Blue Eyes that make the marriage more challenging than it should be at this point, nearly 6 years in, and self-hate, anger, blame, projection, and isolation are all part of that for him, and that bleeds over onto to me every day. It makes bouncing back from things like the arbitration and the break-in more difficult. I want him to step up and handle things with maturity and groundedness, but he can still very much be that immature and hyper child, which drags on my own energy reserves. I set very clear boundaries in the beginning, and I felt those were for survival, my survival and the survival of our marriage. Things have certainly progressed from those days and our situation is a bit different than most in that we live, work and travel together. We’re together a lot. So I guess I’m not asking for more time, or for him to do more for me or our marriage, per se, but that the time we have be of a higher quality. I do think it is a good idea to organize my thoughts on this and make my needs clearer in a more specific way. Thank you and I hope you are enjoying your family during this festive season. xoxo

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  3. You are resilient, and you are doing the proper things to help yourself heal through these traumas. I believe in you. Sending hugs and warmth.

    p.s. I really understand the “not wanting to leave the house” issue. I went through that for quite a while after the initial traumas. I didn’t feel safe outside home. You will be okay. Take care, Kat.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read this and really wanted to comment, but then was stuck for what to say. Here goes, my story is a long one I have only shared about the affair and our recovery, when in fact there was so much more (isn’t there always?) After the Incredible Hulk appeared and I got sent home from the career I had flown in I had to start to see me. As Sean said when you are ‘strong’ you can be broken. I realised that I had always been the person who sorted everything out and I had continued to do that and eventually drove myself mad. I had to stop, I had to learn to be selfish (or is that to just consider myself?) Even now my son, who is 30 on Christmas Eve is trying to make me feel guilty for choosing to live in France and to not be in England for his birthday, all fuelled on by my sister. But I have learned I am where I am, and in life the only person I truly have is me, for all my life. It’s hard Kat, but I hope you get what you need, sending a massive hug. ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

    • You are an inspiration! Taking care of ourselves emotionally, mentally, physically, is what we must do. I hope you have a beautiful Christmas and that your son realizes the error of his ways. The only person who can make us feel guilty, is ourselves. xoxo

      Liked by 2 people

  5. *hugs*

    When I focus on being strong I inevitably become controlling, calculating, emotionally distant, stubborn, and rigid. Strength is not the same as courage…and I see you more as courageous than strong.

    My rigidity is more likely to snap under pressure because it cannot bend or flex as the environment changes. I thought I had to be strong enough to carry the weight of everything alone as the dynamic of my relationships with my exes made me responsible for their emotional well-being and safety. It left not room for me and so when things fell apart it broke me in ways that still surprise and relieve me.

    Also, “I am just now realizing how much my own childhood has affected me.”

    I don’t want to be a victim and everytime my Good Doctor reminds me it isn’t a victim to admit pain and grieve I struggle with accepting what that means. When I say this out loud my knee jerk response is to feel like I’m making excuses.

    Mark Nepo, Tara Brach and Pema Chodron offer insight into the long shadow of our families a great deal.

    In both situations I have found Christine Neff’s research on self-compassion to be a balm for my spirit and Susan David’s work on emotional agility providing a language for further vulnerability.

    I wish I had more than words and encouragement for you.

    Namaste.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Sean, for the hugs and the words. Words are good. It lets me know I’m not alone. I don’t feel strong or courageous right now, but I think, generally, in life, I’m doing okay. I used to think a lot of things… about anxiety, trauma, and pain. I used to think I could handle anything and that I was mentally strong. And I was, until I ran up against a kind of betrayal that I didn’t know how to handle. I wasn’t trained to be the victim, I was trained to be the strong one. I didn’t resent it, I just didn’t know any different. I need to remind myself that self care and self compassion are good things. We’re not being selfish or making excuses. We’re taking care of ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Two things…

        I find it interesting that you describe being strong as not being a victim. As if they two are mutually exclusive. One of the things I’ve recognized is that through therapy is that I am a very strong person. Doing what I did, and carrying the weight of those choices while still functioning in my life is strength…however it also created en emotionally rigid life leaving no room for emotional agility and flexibility in the face of changing circumstances. So when the truth broke, so did I.

        Also, I can across this article from Dr. Robert Weiss on Psychology Today and thought of our conversation:

        https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/love-and-sex-in-the-digital-age/201912/how-adverse-childhood-experiences-affect-you-adult

        Liked by 1 person

      • Also, Weiss talks about the ACES score. You can take the test at the link below.

        And it doesn’t even “examine bullying, racism, financial struggles, severe illness or accident, and a thousand other possible forms of trauma.”

        All of those I confronted daily for over a decade.

        Acknowledging these experiences and how they address my life doesn’t make me a victim. It provides a place to examine the patterns in my life, their roots and how they have unconsciously habitualize across my life.

        But I first have to be vulnerable enough to admit these are obstacles and are getting in the way. I have to be able to bend.

        Incidentally, I scored a definite 5 out of 10. Probably 6…

        https://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/Finding%20Your%20ACE%20Score.pdf

        Liked by 1 person

        • The ACEs concept (well explained at a lay level in the book The Deepest Well) is a great way to begin to see key components of life experiences in a way that removes shame and guilt. I’ve mentioned it here on Kat’s blog before and while it’s not fun it certainly does help to understand how what happened to you when you were a child determined a lot about what you became as an adult. Then the hard work of rest-of-your-life learning to change your thinking starts.

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        • My ACE score is 2. My parents were divorced when I was 6. My sister has borderline personality disorder and attempted suicide. None of the other situations apply to me. I did not have a bad or abusive childhood. Even though my parents were divorced from each other, I knew they loved ME, so I don’t see that as an issue. I was responsible for my baby sister after the divorce and for many years and was always the good girl. I learned to take care of myself and others. I really always instinctively thought, I think, that I would be rewarded. I’d never had a depressed day in my life until my husband’s secrets were revealed. I was diagnosed with C-PTSD from the sex addiction induced trauma. I have spent five years working on my healing. Events over the past couple months have set me back. As hard as I try to be and do good, bad things are happening. We were the victims of a bloody scary home invasion just a couple weeks ago. That is what I’m talking about. I immediately went into trauma mode. I thought I was beyond that, but instead, I immediately reverted to ptsd. Therapy will be good for me. 36 hours and counting. I spend a lot of my time comforting and taking care of others. I need some “me” time, and I’m taking it!

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          • 2 is more than 0😘😘😘
            But mostly here I have mentioned that with respect to BE.

            While the therapy will not result in total transformation of your situation, I am absolutely certain it will give you fresh insights and practical tools that will help you get back on a better path.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, absolutely b, his number is much higher. Even though my number is low in this particular survey, my childhood was instrumental (as with everyone) in shaping me and how I have responded to all that has happened. I know I believed that if I was good and honest and kind and all that it would come back to me and in many ways it has. But in other ways, life has been cruel. It’s just difficult for me, my personality, to understand this has nothing to do with who I am. I agree. The therapy will help me. We’re heading to LA this afternoon. Therapy tomorrow and Saturday. Thank you for sticking with me here in blogland. When I’m back east next (nothing scheduled yet), I’ll make sure we get together! 🤗😘🤗😘

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  6. I am always amazed at how you are able to articulate your situation, emotions, and needs, while experiencing so much pain. You are strong. Sending the best for a great session at the end of the week xoxo

    Liked by 4 people

  7. “… I feel like he should want to protect me from further trauma after everything he has done, but his needs are more important.” Yep. This is a persistent and recurring theme in our household too. 💔 I hope your trip to LA is both healing and empowering.
    Xo

    Liked by 5 people

    • I know it will be both, blackacre. I just need this time for me. She’s amazing and I am counting the hours now. I have a busy couple days before we go, so I’m hanging in there, but I hope the weather prediction is correct. 70 and sunny would feel really nice for my bones right now. xoxo

      Liked by 4 people

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