"I still need something to believe in"

Discussion in 'Significant Other Journals' started by Queen_Of_Hearts_13, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. Trynagetbetter

    Trynagetbetter Fapstronaut

    Thanks for your amazing posts here on the forum, and for your dedication to your marriage and your own ED healing. It is certainly an upward call for many of us (both young and older)! I'm an old timer who remembers growing up before there WAS such a thing as internet porn (those were the days). I had two thoughts for you as an older man with 21 years of marriage under the belt, quite a bit of counseling, and a whole lot of accountability groups:

    (1) Assuming your hubby is about your age (profile says 24). Science says that the brain isn't even fully developed until 25, which we parents have to remind ourselves of with our teens and preteens who seem to ALWAYS make poor choices and not "get it" in terms of consequences. You will have to know what you're dealing with and set expectations accordingly for children (and husbands) under 25. I was 27 when I got married, and had nowhere near the maturity or self-awareness that you have now; very impressed by the way. Even at age 30, that's only five years of experience operating with a fully developed brain (using pre-frontal cortex vs amygdala) and beginning to connect dots as adults do. Patience will be key.


    (2) Consider whether the "You lie. I leave." mantra could be SLIGHTLY adjusted. My mother-in-law gave me a book years ago, showing that it was proven that punishing children for lying causes them to lie MORE. The exact opposite approach, ENCOURAGING honesty & REWARDING honesty & CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT of honesty, is 100x more effective than punishing lies. In fact, among the most stringent parents whose kids were disciplined the most, once these kids did blow it - studies showed these kids lied the most and worked the hardest to cover it up. THEY UNDERSTOOD CONSEQUENCES for lying (but not the freedom and acceptance that comes from honesty), so the reinforcement of "negative consequences for negative behavior" backfired. Rather, reinforce positive consequences for positive behavior (ESPECIALLY for lying). Now with my children, I focus on nurturing, growing and fanning into flames TRUTH, not stomping out and destroying LIES. The former, though counter-intuitive, has had better results for our family.

    Given how much work you've done (and I haven't even begun to read all your journals), I'm just going to assume you're already doing this, because you probably are. And yes, don't fear - that therapy will help him mature and get accustomed to opening up and being honest. Maybe the mantra is "Remember, if you're honest, I will still love you and accept you, even if I'm devastated by your behavior. Test me out on this. You'll see." (there's no threat, only the invitation to come to you, to trust you with his heart, to have something to hold onto to guide him safely to harbor if/when he fails... honesty with a loving and understanding wife who's battling her own demons). And if you have created the safe space for him, and prove to him it's safe by accepting the thousand little truths he DOES tell you, he WILL be honest when he blows it. That will be your moment of truth to demonstrate you are the woman you promised you would be (even as his truth tears you up inside). This is very different than waiting and dreading finally "catching him" ... then walking away.

    I don't know you, your hubby or the extent to which he lies etc so if this helps, great. If not, or you need to adjust the mantra (ie you don't mean test relapsing and confessing; this is not a hall-pass) I totally get it. Every man is at a different place in their journey, maturity, and development. I won't pretend to understand his.

    Can't remember the name of the book, but just google "children lying and punishment" (here's an example from a Time Magazine article)


    Thanks again, and stay faithful. You two will make it - so much farther along than we were at that age! Look forward to reading more of your posts!
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  2. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    While I understand your ideas about rewarding honesty, and agree in theory, I'm sure Anna had solid reasons for instituting her "You lie, I leave." mantra. I feel compelled to point out that many of us SO's have been lied to by our addict repeatedly about everything from huge to tiny. Some addicts are compulsive liars - they are not necessarily motivated by fear when they lie. Lying is just their default. In addition, there are reasons for lying other than escaping negative consequences. One can also lie simply in order to gain an advantage. Many of us have forgiven lie after lie and the most egregious behavior. Far from receiving negative consequences for their lies and behavior, our addicts have been taking advantage of our forgiveness, coasting along soaking up our largess. Meanwhile, SO's are made to beg for, negotiate for, and sleuth after the tiniest crumbs of truth and to feel as if we've been given a great gift when we get them.
    Trappist and Queen_Of_Hearts_13 like this.
  3. Trynagetbetter

    Trynagetbetter Fapstronaut

    I'm so sorry to hear this, Susannah, and the more I read about stories like this, the more I realize how big the problem is. That's what I meant (or tried to allude to) in my post: "I don't know you, your hubby or the extent to which he lies etc so if this helps, great." I have read about some REAL JERKS on this forum (and it's honestly very painful as a PA to hear from the wives about the behavior. Please continue to keep being honest here, though, because it helps many of us well-meaning PAs in recovery to really GET IT. I literally logged on today to start my journal by saying how broken-hearted I feel by some of the SO stories I've been reading here, and then found your reply. Makes the point even stronger. You are dead right, and I sure hope your PA is not one of the ones manipulating you, taking advantage of your forgiveness, and constantly lying (though from your tone, I surmise you speak from personal experience). You deserve better, and any man in his 60s should know and do better.

    Sorry if my message got lost in translation. I agree with everything you said, and will take this to heart in my own recovery. Thanks for making those good points; I needed to hear them!
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
    Susannah and Queen_Of_Hearts_13 like this.
  4. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    Thank you for this and I'm sorry if my post sounded too harsh. I really do think your points about encouraging truth-telling are sound - it's just that they may not be universally applicable to people who are the grips of this disease. It's a tough call. I'm sure many people have been saved by the "encouraging" method, but in this forum I have also read many accounts of people only beginning to change when they hit rock bottom and faced losing everything. Sadly, sometimes you have to make lying the more painful choice.
    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 likes this.

Share This Page