Susannah's Going to Stop Trying to Control Things .....Tomorrow

Discussion in 'Significant Other Journals' started by Susannah, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Sadgirl

    Sadgirl Moderator Assistant Staff Member Moderator Assistant

    I appreciate you sharing your insights and vulnerability very much and I too wonder what the past will look like once the fog of abuse is lifted. After being with a sex addict/porn addict for so long I have no idea what is normal anymore. Is it normal for a man to be ecstatic that his wife is leaving the house because then he can go enjoy other women without the threat of said wife coming downstairs? Is it normal for a man to look masturbate while driving (I read that 30% of men have); is it normal to have insults thrown at a wife's appearance because she doesn't look like an internet porn model?
    And no no no you weren't a doormat, or weak-you were like the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water. PAs change so slowly and insidiously and we end up having to accommodate the insanity that we don't even know exists. I held onto who my husband was so tightly that I didn't even see who he became-maybe it was like that for you as well.
     
  2. Strength And Light

    Strength And Light Fapstronaut

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    Firstly, I’m terribly sorry that you’re feeling exhausted and depressed. I imagine that’s to be expected at this stage of your split. I feel very strongly that you will experience full recovery from this relationship and new growth in unexpected ways. Since we’re noting similarities of PAs and SOs, it could be said that you are in a relatively early stage of recovery. In my experience, recovery doesn’t really work backward toward who you used to be. It’s more of a hybrid between recovery and discovery. Uncovery? You begin recovering who you were prior to living with addiction, while simultaneously discovering who you are now having gone through it. Some things you recover feel so natural to get back. And some things you uncover just by having new choices and making decisions based on what you know now that you didn’t know in your past. “Oh! I’m now that type of person. Interesting.”

    I think I said it before but I’m really proud of you. I’ve often thought it’s equally as hard for the SO to quit the toxic relationship as it is for the PA to quit the toxic addiction. All the same questions and insecurities come up. “Can I really do life without this? Is this really the best thing for me? How can I possibly know that?” Etc, etc... What you have done is position yourself for long-term success by confronting giant fears and shorter-term discomfort and pain. This is not only admirable, it’s exemplary. I know you will experience new and healthy growth. And my hope is somehow all of this helps wake up your husband and he begins a journey of true recovery.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
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  3. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Thanks. I like this. I am starting to accept that I really can't go back to who I was before, and I need to stop having that as a goal. I realize I have been "pining" for "my old self", which is just a kind of nostalgia that I have been using for a weird solace. It's kind of like Edith Wharton's definition of The Golden Age - "the unspecifiable epoch to which the imagination travels for consolation and refreshment."
    Right! This has happened to me already in a few cases.
    That has been my intention. Part of what my post was about is exploring the ways I unwittingly dragged my suffering out by refusing to face my fears and by deferring pain.
    That is my sincere hope, too. I think I am beginning to see some moves in this direction, but I'm too wary to hope.

    As always, thanks for your consistent and kind support.
     
  4. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    I think you aren't far off here. But at the same time, I have no trouble admitting that my own gullibility and delusional thinking contributed. Doesn't mean he was justified in taking advantage of those things, but there is no doubt I let him. Now I need to figure out why. I mean, aside from the being human part.:)

    Thank you for your support.
     
  5. Trynagetbetter

    Trynagetbetter Fapstronaut

    OK. Wow. I need to reread and meditate on this for a week or so. O my ....

    And another thing, this is exactly why I am going to stay on the 40+ forums. Sometimes there's just advantages (and perhaps an intrinsic wisdom) to having been on the planet longer. Not always; but I cannot tell you how many times someone just casually relates a life experience or mentions an insight in a fleeting phrase... that literally blows my mind. "Ah! Maturity. Welcome!"
     
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  6. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    So why did I stay as long as I did? (warning: this question will not actually be fully answered in this post. In fact, this post will go completely off the rails, so please don’t expect a tidy wrap-up. Turns out it’s a complicated question. :))

    Why did I endure the mental torture I went through? I have led a long and full life – taken lots of risks and had a couple of the big failures that sometimes come with those risks. But nothing I’ve gone through compares to the hell of loving an SA. I KNEW I was in hell, but could not seem to get out of it. (Maybe another thing in common with the experience of the SAs?) So were the denial, dissociation, and other coping mechanisms the cause of my “stuckness”? What part did they play in my decision to stay in hell? (I say “decision” because, although at the time, it didn’t feel like a decision, certainly no one had a gun to my head.) Well, they were an aid to survival, but I now see that they helped obscure the real reasons I was staying. Those reasons seemed to me to be hidden behind what I am thinking of as a dark curtain (denial, confusion?). The curtain was there to block the realizations and fears that lay beyond. I could see just enough of what was back there to be terrified, and this kept me from lifting the curtain. And being terrified to lift the curtain meant that I stayed in an exhausting cycle (yet another parallel to the experience of the addict), which I suspect may be familiar to some other SOs. It went a little something like this:

    D-day


    Disbelief/disorientation – what?! Who is this man and how is this possible?!

    Numb - a strange combination of being too completely overloaded to think or feel WHILE my mind was simultaneously racing.

    Angry – blind fury

    Administrative mode – He is just standing there, looking at the evidence, not only of his deception, but of his disease, and is unable to move or speak. I am in disaster response mode. “Okay, this happened. Now what do we do? We are not going to bed until this shit is out of my house. I WILL restore order!”

    Hurt – The just plain hurt of knowing the one I loved preferred others. The agony of being rejected by the one I chose.

    Feeling stupid – Constant berating of myself for being a fool and believing the lies. The feeling that my whole life had been a lie and I was too stupid to know it. Seeing all the giant clues in retrospect.

    False bravado – This one I think was most damaging. I wrote this over on @kropo82 's journal. I would crow about how strong I was, make bold pronouncements, issue ultimatums to myself, declare to the world that from now on, I’m working on me. But as anyone who has spent any time on these forums knows, that attitude only lasts for so long. The anger fades, the insecurities grow, the practicalities and responsibilities of life step in, the curtain lowers, and before we know it we are extending the 2nd or 10th or 20th “last chance”.

    Hope – Slowly, allowing a little hope to creep in if things seem to be going better, usually because he is now a better liar.

    Second-guessing – Wondering if I was being “fair” to him. Maybe I was making too big a thing out of this. I should ease up. He’s really trying. I need to be more supportive. Are my demands for accountability just making things harder for him?

    Another D-day or additional disclosure – resolve to never second -guess myself again, but of course, I will. Because it’s a cycle.

    Rinse, repeat

    After the first or second time around, I could see this cycle clearly while I was in it. By the end, I could even see which stage I was in while I was in it. It was obvious how it was going to turn out. But I went back for repetition after repetition of the cycle. Why? Is it as easy and obvious as @RUNDMC said in another thread?
    So does this apply in my case? Was I a dreamer, trapped in my feelings and fairy tales, sitting passively waiting for him to change? The only part that I don’t immediately recognize is the “passively” part (definitions, blah, blah, blah), but the rest has the distinct smell of truth about it. Yes. Part of me SIMPLY COULD NOT believe that I had been so wrong about this man I thought I knew and the life and connection I thought we had. And having been so wrong had a lot of implications about my own powers of observation and judgment. Were those things fairy tales? Maybe. But call me gullible - I genuinely thought those things were possible between lovers. And through deception, he had led me to believe we were living them. So, yes – fairy tales. But, with all due respect to @RUNDMC (and, RUN, you rascal you, I DO think you’re right on about a hell of a lot and I admire the concision with which you dispense your opinions.), I think there was more than just this at play with me. When I look back on it, I see that I refused to give up on what I thought I had, and I had refused to accept that I could not change the situation, and yes, change him, through sheer force of will. Maybe I was just trying to force the “dream” into being? I don’t know. But anyway you slice it, heavy denial kept me from accepting that what I thought I had was actually an illusion, accepting what he actually was and that I could not change that, accepting that the whole thing was not going to be made to work out okay in the end just because I wanted it to. This is plain to me now, in retrospect, and all very logical. I now know that the man he actually IS is not any man I actually want. But I used denial to keep that hard truth behind the curtain. Accepting the man that I had meant that I would have to say goodbye to the mythical man I loved. There was a grieving process attached to all that, and make no mistake, I railed against it. But once I said goodbye to the mythical man, I was finally able to see the real man standing there, and he simply was not someone I loved. How could I? He was not even someone I knew. One of the most tragic things about this fucking King Lear of a situation is that it ended with my husband’s deepest fear, (that he would be found unacceptable to me), being realized. And all this after I had made, (without benefit of critically important facts) countless reassurances to him that I DID accept him. All the while, in his desperate gambit to avoid detection, he had never even given me the chance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  7. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Yup. Stick with Strength & Light and that will happen to you a lot. In fact, it's also happened to me plenty on your journal.
     
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  8. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Kinda angry today. I spoke to a lawyer who informed me that, in the event of a divorce, there is a chance that I may end up paying my husband alimony. I think I will just wait him out and make him initiate. After all, I'm in no hurry - I have no immediate plans to even date, much less remarry. He, on the other hand, will want his freedom right away. It is inevitable that all the 16 year old underwear models with PhDs in rocket science that he imagines are out there just waiting for him to be single, will be descending on him soon.
     
  9. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Yup. Great stuff. I mentioned this to my husband and he said he doesn't even remember NOT having the addiction (he reckons about 50 years - pay attention, youngsters - don't let this happen to you), so returning to who he was before is a meaningless concept for him. But kind of a great opportunity, too - the process of deliberately choosing how and who you want to be and making it happen. Of course, we all have that ability at any time, but there is something powerful about a life-changing event/crisis/fresh start.
     
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  10. Strength And Light

    Strength And Light Fapstronaut

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    I have a vision of him not taking (pursuing?) alimony. He was gifted a wonderful, loving wife and he ultimately rejected that. Whatever mechanisms are in place for him to sabotage his marriage will likely sabotage his future comforts as well. Just a whim.
     
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  11. Trynagetbetter

    Trynagetbetter Fapstronaut

    Pardon my inappropriate chuckle out loud, but... O boy, you nailed the PA fantasy/delusion! I cannot tell you how many times I've honestly thought through that exact scenario (what pleasures could be mine?) only to conclude, "Yeah. I need to be happy I have ANYBODY who wants to be with me at this point. I've got it pretty good. I'd better get this thing right with my wife and be grateful."

    Even if for some reason gorgeous young women wanted an old, mediocre looking, not-rich, not-famous, sex-addicted, selfish nobody (really?!)... that would not be sexy. That's called creepy.
     
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  12. RUNDMC

    RUNDMC Fapstronaut

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    Did you keep evidence of your husband's illegal porn? This could help you in court.
     
  13. Faceplanter

    Faceplanter Fapstronaut

    Yep, completely nailed it.....maybe not the 16 year old part for most of us, but that's the idea. And not just those rocket scientists either, lots of other types too, because porn says any age / shape / color is going to be up for sex with whomever is handy...just being there is all it takes!
     
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  14. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Yes - I'm well supplied in that area. I was meticulous with my documentation. I also have dated journal entries for all his disclosures. It does seem to me that these things might also be very useful in the pre-filing negotiation period. As of now, he does not know I have these things.
     
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  15. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Woke up this morning dreaming of Sly Stone. It was the kind of dream where you sort of transition from sleep to consciousness while elements of the dream remain. When I woke, I was hearing Sly singing:
    "When you see me again
    I hope that you have been
    The kind of person you really are now"

    I was crying a little bit, thinking of my husband.
     
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  16. Strength And Light

    Strength And Light Fapstronaut

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    Just googled the rest of the lyrics to that song. Understandable why it's permeating up from your subconscious into your conscious. You are processing some very heavy emotions. We are here to listen, kind friend.
     
  17. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Went to a board meeting this afternoon. Finished now, but I had trouble concentrating the whole time I was there. Most days I am fine, but not all. Some days are like today - probably because of how I woke up this morning - just sad about the loss of this relationship. I was thinking back to the very beginning. My husband and I had a couple of experiences when we were getting to know each other (it was a long-distance thing at the beginning) that had a profound impact on me. After these experiences, I was convinced that I had found my soul-mate, a concept I hadn't dared to believe in until then. I had always been fairly cynical, but not in a debilitating way - just in a realistic way. Then he showed up and was the person for whom I never had to provide any explication - he just knew what I was talking about. He seemed to know exactly what I needed and when and I had a feeling toward him that I can only describe as a kind of deep "recognition". I just "got" him, and he me. I fell in love with him very fast and trusted him completely and immediately.

    The experiences happened when we had only known each other a few weeks and hadn't spent a lot of time together - mainly phone and email. The first one was a little game he came up with - "What's on your nightstand?" The idea was that he posed the question, then we each emailed our answer at a set time, without having seen the other's answer. I had a small stack on my nightstand, which included Ruskin's The Stones of Venice. When he sent his list, it included Ruskin's Fors Clavigera. Ummm. We both took this to be very significant. Okay, granted, very different subject matter between the two books, but come on. Two people with Ruskin on their nightstands at the same time definitely have some kind of connection, and I was blown away.

    The second incident was similar, except we were in the same room for this one. He had a project at work for which it made sense to use a file name that referred to classical music, but I knew nothing about it. He just out of the blue asked, "Hey, who's your favorite non-living classical composer?" I said, "Stravinsky". He got a stunned look on his face, then turned his laptop toward me to reveal that he had already named the file "Stravinsky". Turned out to be his favorite composer also.

    I don't know if I will ever be able to process the cognitive dissonance that comes from trying to reconcile these experiences with the other things I now know about him.
     
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  18. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Thanks, S&L. Having a bad-ish day. Also, planning to devote some time tonight to reading your juicy posts from the past couple of days. I wanted to make sure I allowed for adequate time to process.
     
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  19. Strength And Light

    Strength And Light Fapstronaut

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    Juicy? Ha! I was thinking I've been kind of phoning it in, like when a tv sitcom goes on hiatus so they do one of those episodes where they're all sitting around the living room:
    "Remember when Billy missed the school bus and we had to steal a tandem bicycle to get him there?" (Flashback to scene of them stealing a tandem bicycle and peddling Billy to school).
    "Oh yeah, and remember when Mr. Roper caught us breaking into his apartment to steal the keys for his car so we could get our wigs back before we had our double date with the twin Swedish brothers?" (Flashback to scene of them getting caught breaking into Mr. Roper's apartment).
    "Man that was hilarious. Remember when Diane hit her head and thought Norm was a bugler breaking into the bar so she called the police and we had to break him out of jail?" (Flashback to them breaking Norm out of jail).

    This is fun but I think you get the point. I haven't really been phoning it in, but more so thinking about my upcoming 3-year mark on Sunday and reminiscing a bit.


    I was listening to an old episode a podcast with Pete Holmes. He was talking about how when two people first meet and start dating, they have just a few bits of information about the other person. They take these known "points" and have to fill in the rest on their own to form a complete picture of who they think they are dating. Almost never is the person a match to how your imagination, hope, desire and even rational mind sketched them in to be. Over time, the person they really are slowly overwrites the person you imagined them to be and you get a more realistic look at them. The beginning stage of love, the magical tingly era, might have a lot to do with all the stuff you've imagined them to be. This stage fades as your imagination is overwritten with a more true reality. That was the gist of his premise anyway.

    You have some incredibly wonderful qualities inside of you. When you matched some (somewhat) obscure passions I think it was only natural to infer he shared these wonderful qualities that these works of art touched within you. You sketched him in based on the info on hand. I still don't doubt that inside of him is a passionate, sensitive person with many fine qualities. But what you know now is that he also has the capacity to compartmentalize any and all of that to serve whatever internal issues he is protecting.

    Current doubts about your ability to process and reconcile are 100% understandable. There's decades of experiences to recalibrate, some of which are near and dear to your heart and you won't want to touch! I'm not sure in the end everything is a total loss. As is usually the case with grief, sadness does eventually evolve into gratitude for what has been lost. It won't be aching heart and heavy lifting forever. But if it is for now you are not doing anything wrong or poorly. You are doing an AMAZING job of handling all of this with compassion, empathy and grace.

    *Btw, I have no idea who Ruskin is and I'm not a total idiot (please don't burst my bubble), so I totally understand why it would be very elating to meet a suitor who shared that interest. Love interests aside, that's how we make friends too, right? Like when you see that someone else writes really well and reasons introspectively like you do...…(cough cough)…...;)
     
  20. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

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    Yeah. I think this is pretty accurate in general. But I also think I may have been an exception. I used to tell everyone who would listen that it was as if the gods had taken everything I wanted, put it into one man, and delivered him to me. I loved him to the moon and back and thought he walked on water. I remained in awe of him. I wasn't oblivious to his shortcomings, but to me they seemed like adorable eccentricities or I simply let them slide because he was so wonderful in so many other ways. I guess I was stupid, but I really thought he was the smartest, funniest, kindest, most accomplished, most interesting man I'd ever met. I trusted him completely and respected him immensely until things began to go seriously wrong. He had been a master at hiding his addiction, but I think it eventually overwhelmed him - then it was one devastating disclosure and behavioral change after another. There is no doubt that I missed a lot of warning signs that would have been obvious to others because I adored him so much. I am spending a lot of time right now looking carefully at how this happened. I really want to know how I was so blind and what mechanisms were at play in my own mind.
    Yes. The biggest heartbreak of all. He seems unable to bring his thoughts and behaviors into alignment with his "true self". A tragedy.
    I actually think so, too.
    :)

    Thanks, my friend
     
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