There is no better or worse

Photo by Alex Iby

Some recent reading has prompted me to write about a lesson I learned VERY early on in this betrayed wife journey. Blue Eyes learned a similar lesson in his own way. Ironically I could see the lesson he needed to learn far more quickly than I could see my own.

When Blue Eyes came home from his first few meetings, I can’t remember if they were all Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) meetings, or if there were a few SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) meetings thrown in, doesn’t matter. What I do remember, however, was the impression he gave off of how he felt in those meetings early on in his recovery. He felt different from (dare I say it, better than) “those other guys.”

I know he felt sorry for some of the men in the meetings. Why would a serial cheating sex addict feel different than, or sorry for, another addict? He was playing the “I’m not as bad as that guy” game. When Blue Eyes attended one of his first SA meetings, it was on a Saturday at a large local church. There were multiple Addiction meetings taking place around the same time. He walked up to one of the rooms and asked the men standing around if this was the SA meeting. These men looked at Blue Eyes with disgust and disdain (at least in Blue Eyes’ interpretation) and said, “no, your meeting is over there. This is an AA meeting.” As if Alcoholics are a far better species of man than Sexaholics. Six years ago no one wanted to be associated with a sex addict. But the real death knell… was being diagnosed AS a sex addict. It used to be the same for alcoholics, but alcoholism is now thought of as a disease, versus just plain old weakness. Progress. Because what really matters, is that people get help, not that they are judged.

In this book I’m reading, in trying to differentiate between porn addiction and sex addiction, they are calling the sex addict “addicted to intercourse.” This had me scratching my head, frankly. As it was explained to Blue Eyes in his first week with a sex addiction diagnosis, it’s a process addiction (versus a substance addiction). It really matters not what the drug is, or even how they use the drug, but in fact that the behavior they are participating in has a brain chemistry component that is negatively affecting their life. In the case of Blue Eyes, even grooming a woman on the street without ever having the intention to bed her, gave him a hit. As a matter of fact, he would now say he had been a “sex addict” for 40+ years at the time of diagnosis and yet for a number of those years, actually most of those years, porn and masturbation provided the hits. Was he a porn addict that turned into a sex addict? Not important. Not all sex addicts engage in intercourse. Some, well let’s say lots and lots of, men could not even reach an erection during their time with their acting out partners, but they still got a hit from whatever behavior they engaged in. There’s the secret component. There’s the power and control component. There’s the need to fill an empty void component. There are so many elements to addiction and in recovery, each individual needs to learn what their own triggers and processes are in order to heal. Most resources would agree that addicts often have childhood wounds, and potentially (often) mental illness plays a part. Personally I think mental illness plays a huge part as addiction to processes or substances are what the person is trying to use to medicate these wounds and illnesses.

Back to Blue Eyes. There were men in these meetings who had been to jail, or prison. There were guys who bankrupted their families. There were guys that did super deviant things, watched really creepy porn, had sex with their siblings (or worse). Some of these men are sex offenders. Most are not. Over the weeks I heard about all the “stuff” these other guys did and how maybe, just maybe Blue Eyes could help them. He could see they were suffering. He was asked early on to be a sponsor. When he asked for my two cents, I gave it–NO WAY!!!! He hadn’t even finished his first run through of the steps himself. Hindsight 20/20: if you’re an addict and in 12 step, finish those steps. It’s a good thing. It really is.

Of course I never knew which man did what as I never knew their names. Even Blue Eyes didn’t know most of their last names for a very long time, but I heard Blue Eyes deflect and judge, all the time, for about a year. And then finally one day he said the words I had been waiting to hear. He said, “over time, I have realized I am JUST LIKE all those other guys. My drug may be the same, or different, but my wounds and motives and abuses, are the same.”

Hallelujah, there it was. We humans are so much more alike than we are different.

So my lesson is a little different. When I first found out what Blue Eyes had done, the betrayals, the lies, the lies about me… the women, and then the reality of the stalker whore, I had the opposite reaction as Blue Eyes. Where he thought his situation was less horrifying than some of the guys he met, my reaction was that my situation was far more horrifying than what some other spouses were dealing with. I found blogs where a husband cheated once, a drunken one-night stand. Or another husband had an emotional affair with a co-worker, but no sex. There were the guys that were JUST porn addicts. They hadn’t touched another woman. Then there were the guys who went to prostitutes, a blow job on the way home from work, just to take the edge off (no intercourse), so no relationship, no lying in bed telling the prostitute how awful the wife is. Or better yet, massages with happy endings… like prostitution, but not quite, right? I yelled at Blue Eyes that I wished he had been with 80 prostitutes and I had to pick him up at the police station versus 8 long years with the stalker.

The thing is though, there is no better or worse when it comes to this kind of thing. We must leave judgment, either way, out of it. Every single “less than” I threw out over the first months of being the wife of a sex addict was thrown right back at me… HOW DARE I? How dare I know how it feels to be the wife of someone who went to prostitutes. It’s humiliating. How dare I compare my situation to someone whose husband is “just” a porn addict. He hasn’t touched her in years and yet my husband is all over me? Better, or worse? Neither!!! How dare I even try to understand what it feels like when a pregnant 30 year old’s husband has a one-night stand after a night of heavy drinking? How dare I compare my situation to anyone else’s.

I also learned through trauma therapy that we all react the same, and yet different, depending on what we bring to the table. Betrayal trauma is no joke. Society and the media would have us believe (and I know I’ve written this before) that cheating and divorce are so commonplace as to be normal. How dare we be devastated just because our husband cheated on us. So they found someone younger, sexier, better. Buck up and move on. NOPE. I’m so tired of that Hollywood version of marriage. It’s just not the way it really is. The cheaters are fucked up. Majorly fucked up. And if they don’t deal with their shit, they will fuck up their next relationship, and their next. We loved them and were loyal and faithful and we never asked for any of this. And I know there are wives of porn addicts who consider their husband’s computer his mistress. They are suffering. We’re all suffering.

When I attended the Wives of Sex Addicts group way way way back in Spring 2014, the stories were diverse. There was the 30-something woman with two young kids who agreed to an open marriage because her husband just needed more excitement and variety in his life. All he had to do was follow the rules and tell the truth. But the secret was what he desired, so he continued to “cheat” even with an “open marriage.” There was the woman whose husband had cheated with a bridesmaid the night before their wedding. She was in her 50’s. Her husband had just been diagnosed as a sex addict after 30+ years of cheating. I wasn’t sure if she was more suicidal or homicidal at the point, but she was severely depressed. The stories that broke my heart in this particular group, however, were the ones of the wives married to porn addicts. One had waited to marry her husband until he was five years sober from alcoholism. She definitely loved her husband. At the point that we were sitting in this meeting in NE Portland, they had a 9 year old daughter together. She had been chaperoning a trip to the local Art Museum with her child. A friend called to say their house was surrounded by police and a SWAT team. Her husband had been viewing under age porn at work and had been found out. Of course he had no idea he was viewing under age porn, but he did realize he was obsessively watching porn instead of working. The authorities were confiscating every piece of electrical equipment and anything else that might be child porn related. At one point the husband admitted to eight hours of porn a day. He acknowledged he was out of control. He was sent, by the system, to the Meadows in Arizona for in-patient treatment and then off to another state for further treatment and testing. But the saddest (and at this point I was already a bundle of tears and afraid to tell my own story), to me, was the retired porn addict Grandpa (also unknowingly viewing underage porn from his home office) who was sentenced to jail time, then in-patient, then upon return home was not allowed to be in a room with his grandchildren alone.

There simply is no better or worse. I will never again make the assumption that my situation with my addict is somehow better or worse than any other spouse of an addict. Any kind of addict. Why compare?

36 thoughts on “There is no better or worse

  1. Totally agree!
    Comparative thinking keeps us isolated and separate.
    It automatically creates a two zones – “us” and “them”.
    I struggle sometimes however, in my attempts to harness my own demons, in recognising and excluding people who later on turn out to be dangerous.
    I seem to have a wonderful ability to love, accept, and trust all, but when I begin to notice unhealthy, nasty, or unacceptable behaviours in those I trust I find it hard to recognise, label, and act upon.
    I think I’m getting better, but it’s and interesting experience to simultaneously accept while also being ready to exclude when a person is just not someone I need in my life.
    Thanks for your post!
    Great food for thought!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’re spot on Kat. There is no better or worse. We all suffer. And who’s to say who suffers more. Really, does it matter anyway. Recovery is going to be hard for all of us. We don’t need to be going around comparing and grading how traumatised each of us is. Thank you for sharing your journey so openly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So. Remember not long ago I wrote here that my friend was at last out of my life, after more than 11 years? Last saw each other more than 4 years ago. Last phone call and last text in June, last (angry) email exchange in October? I really thought we were done this time.

    Well he reappeared last week. And immediately started to pull me back in, attention bombing me. And is now flirting again. As a reminder, we never even kissed. It was a full blown emotional affair that was initially about 6 years, then on and off for another 5. This is clearly some kind of addiction, and when I can be an observer of it is kind of fascinating. I don’t know that he has ever suffered any consequences for any addiction (I also believe he is a high functioning alcoholic), and it is hard to imagine that at this point in his life he will change in any way. I have zero doubt I am the only woman he has ever had a secret life with, and I have no way of knowing what his wife knows about those secret lives. He definitely has unresolved childhood trauma. I don’t know if he is burdened in any way by his coping behaviors but it does make me sad for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This post. I just cried reading it the first time.

    Yesssss… the damn traumas we bring to our stories to start with, the pain Olympics, the minimising of our own actions when we hurt someone. All of it. There’s definitely no better or worse.

    Reading Boadicea’s reply/story resonated so hard.

    Thank you for always being here, Kat. Sharing your story has helped me immensely, and I hope I am not always one who drains your energy! Much love 💕💋

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Life is not the pain Olympics. I think when people hurt they go to that place. Yikes i May have a cold but at least it’s not the flu kind of mentality and it’s simply a coping mechanism.

    I hate that i think i have PTSD from my husband cheating because how dare i compare myself to soldiers returning from God awful circumstances???

    I’m always go smacked when my h does this though. He’s several times said “well at least i didn’t do that…”. Jeez. He doesn’t get it. But i chalk it up to his egoism and self entitlement ignorance. Yes i said ignorance because if he really knew better he wouldn’t say that crap. But I’m not in the husband Mommy business anymore so he says that crap figure it’s his problem with how he views the world and his Karma he gets is such a bitch!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Ok so i hope you don’t think I’m a big old asshole but o laughed at that because i can only imagine to look in BEs eyes when you say that. It must be pure terror. My h would be hiding under the covers.

        To answer you question? That question will remain one of the mysteries of life. Like what was Clinton thinking when he had an affair with Monica??? Ugh men are so STUPID. 🧐. Hhhhmmm maybe it’s just that easy. They are fucking stupid

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yup, a lot of them seem to be missing a critical brain component! 🤯

          BE does not like it when I yell, at all!!! I believe he has hid, and cowered, and cried… sometimes I just say, “consequences.” Turn on my heel, and exit the situation.

          I’m so tired, but I trudge on. A girl needs to yell every once in a while! 🤪

          Like

  6. This blog NAILED it! Your husband sounded exactly like my husband in the beginning. After his first couple of meetings, he too expressed that he didn’t feel that he belonged there either. He wasn’t nearly as bad many of the other men, so many of them were ‘hardcore’ addicts compared to him. I wanted to believe that as well. The results of the SA test that he took came back though and that told a different story, confirming what his therapist already knew. Your insights are spot on, I can totally relate! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Catherine. I think it takes a lot of addicts quite some time to realize they are much more similar to other addicts, than they are different. Acknowledging what they have actually done, to themselves and others, doesn’t come naturally. I’m am glad my husband came around because 12 step meetings and fellowship have been instrumental in his recovery! Glad your husband has this resource too! xo

      Like

  7. It gave me such a fillip to read this entry. My husband betrayed me 6 years ago and I still struggle. We have lived separately for the last 2 years.
    I read, ruminated and considered everything that I could on affairs – texts, books, blogs plus Counselling (still ongoing). ‘Experts’ claim there is a formula for recovery ie a one nights stand is
    easier to come to terms with than multiple affairs over several years and even timescales given for ‘healing’ to be accomplished. Amidst all the self torment, battering of confidence, shame and humiliation I thought I’d failed not achieving recovery within 2 years. “What’s wrong with me?” I now know – Nothing. Betrayal and lies are deadly irrespective of frequency and duration.

    His was brief, my sixth sense sniffed it out but it was premeditated would have continued and the fact he airbrushed me out tho made reference to his ex wife and kids is not something I can assimilate.

    I’m now early 60’s, this was a second marriage for both with stepchildren and 3 years in he fractured us. I know there is no going back and no better future. We are no longer a family extended or otherwise. Being able to move on together (or not) comes down to individual differences, life experiences and love. My love has withered. His own frailties meant a lack of support as his strategy is to withdraw, not be open for fear of my response (childlike)all to protect himself. He still does it. His indiscretion (to quote my daughter) came in the midst of a series of big life events for me and now I hope to go into 2020 able to snip the thin thread that holds. Like you I’m a rescuer but have learned so much with a new Counsellor in the last few months about my core beliefs which are pretty negative and that tho’ I wouldn’t dream of creating havoc in other people’s lives I’ve allowed it in mine. I’m learning to say NO. I feel I’ve lost the last 6 years of my life and can’t afford to lose more.

    You are an astonishing woman Kat. Resilience and stoicism. Go well.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for joining us, Boadicea. ❤️ I admit I had to look up “fillip.” I had never heard the word before. Thank you for sharing your story and for your kind words. There is nothing like feeling understood and accepted for who we are. It sounds like you are well on your way to owning true independence.

      I return to the Robin Williams quote often… “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.”

      You’re not alone and you’ve not lost the last 6 years of your life. You spent it learning valuable lessons. Love from people who know, and understand. 🤗

      Like

  8. I think sex addiction could be the umbrella term, but I believe that things like intercourse addiction, porn addiction, voyeurism, exhibitionism, etc. fall under the umbrella.

    Society sees the phrase “sexual addiction” as “intercourse addiction.” I think it’s more than just a matter of semantics I want to be labeled correctly. I don’t think I’m better than an intercourse addict or a peeping Tom, but if I’m neither one of those things, I think it’s ok to not want to be called the wrong term.

    This was a great entry, btw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I’ve never heard the term intercourse addiction before. I’m not sure it’s as simple, or as complicated maybe, as you are making it. Obviously you get to be called or associated with whatever terms you like, as everyone should be able to, but that doesn’t necessarily make it generally accepted.

      I know when my husband walked into an SA meeting room with men who had been in jail for viewing child porn (never having engaged in addiction related intercourse), or shaking hands with a guy who had sexual relations with his dog (and also having had affairs), plus++ and they were all called sex addicts, he also wanted to differentiate himself. For him specifically what “intercourse” there was was minimal compared to everything else. Intercourse wasn’t even the goal, it was the let down. According to him, the hunt was the process in his process addiction and the need for that was extremely intermittent, say, intercourse 10x (1-2 trips with the acting out partner) a year versus hundreds and hundreds of hits off porn and grooming. No chat rooms. No prostitutes, no massages, no hook-ups. I do think sex addiction is an umbrella term, but it doesn’t define anyone’s actual pathology. I certainly wouldn’t call my husband an “intercourse” addict even though in the last 12 years of his addiction he had occasional extramarital sex. Personally, knowing him as well as I do, I would call him a needy man-child who wasn’t nurtured by his narcissist mother and was shamed and abused by both his parents and what he seeks is approval he will never get and his addiction manifests itself through power and control over a part of his life that was secret and all his. Most days he got hits from porn, some days the occasional flirting glance, and on the very rare occasion, maybe intercourse (but he actually prefers hand jobs). It’s pretty complicated actually.

      I’m still reading, expect more posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well I hope you pimp the book out with the title next time 🙂

        I sat in SAA rooms for about 9-10 months. Much like AA, I got out of the program what I needed, but I found fellowship elsewhere that was more to my personality type. I don’t think with my situation I ever judged anybody as worse or less than me. I met guys who I felt more sorry for than myself, but I also met guys who seemed like they were still in massive denial.

        I do think there needs to be differentiation in 12-step sexual-based groups. Just like you have Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous and a few others instead of just “Chemical Dependency Anonymous” I think that breaking it down to specific sexual behaviors, which may happen someday, could be more helpful. A lot of the SAA groups I went to in Maine were mostly bitch sessions about wives interspersed with a few honest stories. I think it helps to be around large cities, or at least I’ve heard that and when I was near Dallas for a couple months, I felt more at home.

        I think your husband presented more facets to his sex addiction than I did. Maybe we were soothing different traumas and needed different buttons pushed. His situation certainly sounds much more complicated than mine, both in his youth and during his years acting out.

        I don’t like the phrase intercourse addiction, and since it wasn’t my variety of sex addiction, maybe there’s a better phrase. Maybe the umbrella term can be changed to sexual addiction. Sex sounds like intercourse. Sexual sounds related to sexuality.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I wrote a big, long response (as I am prone to do) and WP ate it. So frustrating! I didn’t think I was far enough in your book, or my message was positive enough to warrant pimping the book, but if you are of the mind that all publicity is good publicity, then I will pimp it.

          I don’t really believe that a path to recovery needs to be focused on the what (porn/masturbation, heroine, alcohol, sex with others, gambling, whatever), but focused on the why? Why are we using something that seriously negatively affects ours or our family’s lives and how do we get to the bottom of it. Is any particular recovery program dependent on the drug? Eliminating a drug habit sure, but the drug is not the cause, it’s the medication for the problem. I do agree it is probably easier to be with people as similar to you as possible, and potentially sexual addiction is a better umbrella than sex addiction, but what really matters is not what others think, but that people get help. That the addiction is talked about just like other addiction. I was just at lunch with a friend whose 30 year old daughter is 10 years sober from heroine addiction. She attends AA meetings. It’s where she found people she could connect to. I know it often takes a while to find the right group.

          I’m sad and frustrated to hear that there are SA/SAA groups where blaming the victim (bitching about wives) is acceptable. I know this doesn’t happen often in my husband’s group as these men understand the trauma they have inflicted and most are grateful we are still with them. Bigger cities do have more meetings to choose from and more variety. You should see the LA meeting lists!

          And I agree, yours and my husband’s situations are different. Every situation is different. What mattered to me was that he get to the root, create a safe environment for his recovery, and be honest. The fact that he was lying and keeping secrets will always hurt the most.

          By the way, the portion of your book that prompted this post is on pages 7-8, “I hope that the World Health Organization’s recognition of Sexual Impulse Disorder in mid-2018 will also move us in a direction of no longer lumping sex addicts and porn addicts together.
          As a former addict, I see a big difference. I believe my wife does, too.”

          Liked by 1 person

          • With all of my blog posts, and responses that I know are going to be long, I write them in Microsoft Word first. I’ll only let the WP bastards steal my work twice before I learn.

            I agree with you on the why for the addict, and those closest to him, but society is always going to want to know what. When I’m out there giving the same interview over and over, I almost have to interject the why as part of the conservation. That’s the important part, but you have to get through the what before you can arrive at the why and for newbies who don’t have this in their life, it’s a necessity to start there.

            In my personal life, no, it doesn’t matter what others think, but in what my calling has been lately, it does matter what the public thinks. Taking away the plugging of the book, that’s really the only reason I’m out there pushing this stuff. I feel the need to educate and make people aware of the growing problem of porn addiction. We’re not going to be able to turn things around unless people start caring.

            In Maine, there are 5 SAA groups statewide per week. One takes place in my hometown, two are in Portland, which is an hour away, and two are in Bangor which is two hours away. When the guys in the local group are, for lack of a better term, kinda duds, I’m getting nothing from them, and I’ve read the book twice, it’s time for me to move and find recovery that helps me, I don’t know…recover? You can do like 75 AA meetings in Maine daily, and I’ve seen big city lists. Hell, Palm Springs has like 10 meetings daily and it’s not that big a place. I think in Maine, it’s that New England puritan ethic of “leave me be to rot in my repressed emotional trauma like you’re supposed to do”. It’s one of the reasons I’d love to leave. That and this motherfucking snow.

            And yeah, I still stand by what I say on 7-8. I think that most porn addicts and intercourse addicts are coming from different places pathologically. But I also said that because in many women I’ve talked to, porn is considered far less a betrayal than actual intercourse.

            Liked by 2 people

            • My blog posts are so spontaneous and mostly done on my phone these days, but I can certainly see the prudence of typing them in Word.

              From my perspective, all I have is my personal life, so yeah, we are obviously coming from very different viewpoints, processes, and desired outcomes. I don’t usually write with the thought of what is palatable to the masses and I’m not trying to sell anything. Thus the reason I spent a lot of time way back when trying to explain sex addiction to some blog commenters. It wasn’t so much that I cared whether they believed in sex addiction or not, but that reading and commenting on my life wasn’t a game to me. I dared anyone to come live with my husband for a week. Most people couldn’t handle him for a day. Not the charismatic, kind, generous, thoughtful, intelligent, flirty Blue Eyes, no that guy is well received. I’m talking about the sulking, brooding, angry, judgmental, guy who projects out all over the fucking place. Addiction is addiction.

              I still take issue with the “intercourse addicts” terminology and will never use it as I don’t think it represents sex addiction, mainly because it’s just a specific term for something so much broader. Talk about taking a listener’s eye right to one specific scenario when in fact the addiction encompasses hundreds of pathologies. It does sound like you and my husband have very different behavior patterns. BE is a sex addict and porn was one of his many outlets for hits. The whole point of this post, however, goes right to your last sentence above… “porn is considered far less a betrayal than actual intercourse.” In that sentence, in my opinion, you are minimizing pain and deflecting away from betrayal trauma of thousands of wives of porn addicts.

              Each woman is different and their pain is unique and no one should assume that any one person’s pain and suffering is less than or more than another’s. I, also, would have assumed that my trauma was greater because my husband had an 8-year (very intermittent as he likes to say) sexual relationship with an older, hoarding, abusive alcoholic. But I found out time and time again that that was not true and I stopped even contemplating minimizing anyone else’s trauma. I never had to compete with a gorgeous, younger, sex expert in real life (or hundreds of them for that matter) or on a screen. I didn’t have to compete with something that was there every minute of every day. I also had a husband who continued to desire me and seek me out throughout the 30 years we were together, all of which he was a sex addict. Some men are sexually anorexic because of their addiction, and I understand it is incredibly painful and difficult for the wife to understand. What happens to us when we find out our husband has a secret sex life, whether it be porn or prostitutes, is that our reality is shattered. Our life partner lied to us about who he is, what he did with a portion of his day. Depending on what wounds we already carry, our emotional response can be all over the map.

              In Blue Eyes’ group (a very small sample of men, I realize) the porn addicts are the never married or divorced men in the group. The full blown sex addicts, in his group, are mostly still married. The porn addicts have shorter sobriety dates while many of the sex addicts have over 10 years sobriety. In the wives of sex addicts group I attended, the porn addict wives were dealing with serious triggers due to their husbands being in forced rehab or prison. Talk about a shock… one minute you’re making Christmas cookies with your grandkids and the next your husband is being arrested in his den by the local sheriff. It’s all a shit show. So no, I will never again assume that a porn addict’s wife is less traumatized than a wife whose husband had real life sex partners.

              Some people consider my writing style combative. I absolutely do not mean it to be. I appreciate the dialog and a chance to understand people, where they come from, and what they want from life. Merry Christmas, Josh.

              Liked by 2 people

              • I probably should have been clearer. In the partners I have spoken with, met and read posts from on other forums, there is a clear delineation in the betrayal level of porn vs. sex. Perhaps you don’t feel this way, but I’m simply reporting on my experience with others. I have more than one time heard some version of, “If he’d really been doing this with another woman…” uttered. No judgment attached or agreement or disagreement. Everybody has their own story and I’m just looking for trends or patterns. It has crossed my mind it’s a way of them minimizing or them justifying why they stay, but I haven’t yet had the balls to ask that question.

                It’s hard for me to relate to the sexually anorexic part as well. I got my power and control fix from porn. When I was in the real critical phase at the end, in chatrooms or even looking at porn, I rarely pleasured myself. It was all about getting the dopamine to tell me I was in control of my life. I didn’t want love. I didn’t want sex. I didn’t want intimacy. I wanted the damn pain and anxiety of my life to go away and it was either that or Red Bull and tequila.

                I wish nobody any betrayal trauma of any scale from any sexual issue. It’s like saying what would make you sadder, if your mom or dad died? Some people can shout out the answer in one second and others would need to take a long time and could never reach an answer. Doesn’t make any of them right or wrong. It’s an individual journey, but I’m sure there are patterns among those who quickly say mom or quickly say dad. At this point, I need to learn more about patterns if I’m going to continue to move forward. Nobody is going to fit every pattern, but it doesn’t mean those patterns are wrong. It’s like when three people run for President. One can get 42% of the vote and win. The are the majority of the minority and I think that is likely the case in people who have to deal with betrayal trauma. There are a lot of stories, but some have commonalities and with what I’m starting to try to evolve my life toward, I need to understand those commonalities.

                And I don’t find you combative at all, or maybe I do and it doesn’t phase me. I don’t know. I find you defend your position with good points, make me think about it and respect me enough to consider my position. Maybe you’re combative with the rest of them.

                So that whole come live here a week and see what he’s like…is that still an offer? I really liked the work the tattoo guy did on me in Portland and if I had a few days, he could really start working on that sleeve I want 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                • Ha. Anytime, Josh, anytime! When talking about how people respond in any given setting, I do think there are factors playing in. As I watched these wives of porn addicts absolutely collapse from their pain, we were in a space where that was expected to happen. A partners of sex addict group. It was a safe container for that level of pain.

                  And believe me, I have fallen into the trap of saying, well, my husband is CLEARLY a sex addict because there is no way any normal person would have sex with THAT woman. But, that is mean. I’m sure other men have had sex with her. She was married for a short time. My husband has admitted that he would not even have looked at the woman he ended up having an 8 year relationship with if passing her on the street. It was not about looks. It was about that secret Craig’s List Ad. They conversed for months before he met her at her house (she wrote him seductive stories by email) and who knows where his addictive mind was at by the time they actually met up.

                  He had orchestrated a specific scenario and she played it out. That’s what he wanted. Control. She did the same thing every time, FOR EIGHT LONG YEARS, intermittently, UGH!

                  Anyway, we all do what we do to survive. And likewise with the porn and the pain of life to go away. He watched porn at work to ease the pressure and get a high. No release. Walking the streets and looking at women’s body parts, same thing. Never intending to sleep with them. BUT, if one of them had noticed his stares, and actually liked it, and pursued it, he wouldn’t have stepped into an alley, etc… my guess he would have dragged out the virtual four play as long as he absolutely could, because that was the game. That’s where he got the most hits.

                  Due to my husband’s intestinal issues (from childhood) alcohol and drugs were out of the question. I find choice of drug very interesting as well. He would have died from substance abuse a long time ago.

                  His needs are multi-faceted… but I think it was all in pursuit of him controlling a piece of his life that was all his. A secret life full of power and control, and pleasure because the childhood shit he had buried was far too painful to confront.

                  Anyway, onward and upward!

                  Like

          • “I’m sad and frustrated to hear that there are SA/SAA groups where blaming the victim (bitching about wives) is acceptable” —
            In the local SAA groups my husband attended, he was told, “It wasn’t your fault; you are an an addict.” And they did gripe about their wives or ex-wives. How do I know? He told me. And he was emboldened in his blaming every time he came home from SAA (ALL of the local groups). WTF???

            And he kept complaining that he couldn’t find a group with his peers – meaning level of education and sophistication. Um. How do you find a group of DOCTORS in our area admitting to this crap? There was ONE doc (pediatrician) with legal problems who HAD to attend these groups several days weekly by law. My husband saw him as a child molester.

            And FYI – “underage porn” doesn’t exist – it’s CHILD porn (Illegal). There is no “underage molestation” by priests” – they call it child molestation. Under 18 = child, not “underage”.

            OF COURSE my husband made choices and many bad ones. He could wait months. He wasn’t “dope-sick” on heroin, needing a “fix” to feel better in 1-2 days.

            No accountability in local groups – my husband has to utilize on-line groups and even an on-line SA/IA counselor. No one here.

            My husband does take accountability now. It’s a process. It’s been slow for him b/c of his mental illness IMHO. He’s doing better now – getting a clearer head at over 3 years out from his attempt on his life and his confession.

            Different locations are – yes – different. I’m so freaking tired of that, Kat. Our area is SO FREAKING BACKWARDS. So was our previous area (a close-by state – the psychologist who referred me to your blog was there and she saw Minwalla and the female therapist he worked with – Trish). I KNOW there are smart people here, in our area. Educated people. WTF is wrong with the SA industry (non-existent) here? I’d really like to call this out. I have called it out. No one answers.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hey beleeme. I can read the frustration. It’s awful when people cannot get the help they need, or don’t have the same resources nearby. It must be frustrating to read my comments about BE’s group because I am now realizing how special it really is. I know there are others who have a similar experience, but maybe not a lot. Your husband would fit right in to BE’s group. It’s a “professionals” group and meets downtown before work. There are attorneys, CEO’s, doctors… one of BE’s best mentor friends is a retired heart surgeon. His sponsor is a retired attorney. There are a few dentists, an ad exec. It’s an SA group. Really diverse in terms of ages and pathologies. There’s a couple 20-somethings even. The young ones are porn addicts, I believe. And then it goes up to 70’s. Lots of men in their 50’s. I don’t think BE ever connected with an SAA group. He wanted the strictest boundaries in place and maybe SA is stricter? I don’t know, but he does like the circle part of SAA, which was introduced to him by Omar’s Associate, Andrew. I’m not sure if Omar even advocates for 12 step. I think he thinks a lot of it is antiquated or out of touch, but really, each group is unique and sets its own rules. BE’s group is also not religious, per se. To each their own. Lots of atheists.

              The local therapy I received was horrible in my opinion, and that includes the couple’s therapy I suffered through for months. There is one decent CSAT here in Portland I turned her over to BE and he sees her now. It’s one of the reasons I went back down to Trish. I needed her. I didn’t want the good (but not exceptional) therapist that BE is seeing. I simply wanted the best.

              Did your husband ever go to an inpatient facility? In hindsight, I think BE should have gone, after Omar’s intensive. I think they could have dug deeper into the mental factors playing in. I think it would have been good for him to be away from me for a month or two and in a situation where his whole health was being looked after. The places we looked at had healthy eating, mindfulness, exercise, even equine therapy included. I actually don’t think he needed it so much for the sexual component per se as at the point he was diagnosed he had already been sober for 4 weeks and although he would have gone back to it, especially the porn, once he had the diagnosis he didn’t. It definitely was a crash and burn situation and hindsight is always 20/20, but I do wish he had gone. And… I’m gonna write a post about it. 🙂 tomorrow. Now I need to just go home. Still at work. Got all my Christmas/Hanukah shopping done. Check! xoxo

              Liked by 1 person

              • Happy Christmas and a light-filled Hanukah! To you and all of your family! I hope you are home and relaxing.

                My husband was “in-patient” for his suicidal thoughts – 2 weeks – and he made an attempt in the hospital who had a camera on him 24-7 (they said) but they had no clue he made an attempt in the locked unit and he had a bruise under his eye from passing out (they didn’t see it). Then let him go home. Then a second admission, for his very lethal suicide attempt at The Cleveland Clinic. A total of almost 2 months in-patient! They are a f’ing JOKE, as far as psych, that is. I could go on about them for other things, but I won’t. They aren’t what they say, and they pay their docs shit wages (unless you are in the handful of world-experts on heart care). They sent a delusional, psychotic husband home with ME and he almost killed himself a couple of days later. They were in luck. Smart wife (who was told that I was treating him like a child) actually saved him and saved THEIR asses. Otherwise – major lawsuit b/c I would have won if he died. The doctor (psychiatrist) was incompetent, and apologized to me profusely after his attempt, for not listening to me. IDIOTS

                The day after he was released the 2nd time, he looked up “lethal dose of aspirin” — still was (apparently?) suicidal. They let him go; they released him to a hotel, actually, b/c I wouldn’t ‘t allow him at the home at that point – I was really traumatized by his suicide attempt and all the blood – it was scary! A therapist told me if he’d do that to himself, he could do that to me (kill me). All really f’d up advice. He never placed a hand on me – before – or after. I’m not saying what he did was OK, but he’s not violent to me or anyone. He just wanted to be dead.

                I know that “type” of inpatient care I’m describing isn’t like a sex addiction center, but some of those places are a scam, too. The CLE Clinic supposedly helped him get to the root of his problem – family of origin. All I can say is he was so whacked out with his crisis and his meds that he couldn’t think straight.

                It took over 1 1/2 years for him to *start* to think straight. I’ve known him a long time, so I can gauge that. His therapists couldn’t gauge any of it. He certainly wasn’t “ready” for that type of help at crisis time.

                Our situation is probably different b/c of the severity and life-threatening stuff, but we’ve had horrid care. The only doc who actually listens to my feedback (finally) is his current psychiatrist. Therapeutic providers are *supposed* to reach out for family-informed care. OY VEY

                I’m okay, really. I’m in a very grounded place now – compared to the past 3-4 years. This industry just frustrates the crap out of me.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Your situation is so unique and scary. What horrible care. I do think some of the inpatient care can be good, but your husband is in a whole different category than most. I’m so glad you guys have been able to work together on your mental and physical health! ❤️

                  Liked by 1 person

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