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Discussion in 'Significant Other Journals' started by Susannah, Nov 28, 2018.
Some things you just can’t un-see.
Are these the only two therapists to choose from? Can you interview more?
There are a couple of others that have an SA specialty but my husband REALLY likes this one, so... If I veto, then it will always be "YOU compromised my recovery. Wah!" I won't give him the satisfaction.
I can see your point about this, but I am very satisfied with my decision to look. I'd rather have my worst fears confirmed than to never know the truth. I didn't see it all (probably not enough time left in my life to do that) but instead, viewed samples and made notes ie volume, genre, frequency, escalation, etc. I thought these things might be helpful in that they could tell us when he intensified, when he backed off - you know - did his behaviors correlate with life events, etc? It just felt like a sensible thing to do at a time when I desperately needed to feel some kind of control. I don't know - it's hard to explain.
In addition, I think it helped accelerate his move toward recovery. With everything laid out for him, for the first time, he couldn't deny it. He seemed genuinely shocked at what he saw and seemed to snap into some kind of "resigned truth-telling" mode. Subsequently, he has disclosed so much about his behavior, thoughts and background, including things he claims to have previously blocked out entirely.
Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. And I agree about the accountability. I can definitely see that in his life history.
So you're right, it DID change our relationship forever. For the first time, I can actually make an informed choice about whether to proceed or not.
Probably helped a lot
with his sexual inventory,
I would imagine.
Female therapist it is - because that is what my husband wanted and I followed all the advice here and decided he needed to make this decision. But I made some demands. He would make a full disclosure to the therapist about his history and the dangers of the therapy and I could stop things whenever I felt unsafe. Of course, I see the utility of not stopping things prematurely and letting him have the rope with which to "hang himself". Developing an obsession with and objectifying the therapist provides an excellent learning opportunity. But I have my own breaking point....
So here's what he presented her with:
**** has historical and persistent problems with objectifying, sexualizing, and thinking delusional and obsessive thoughts about women he sees or meets. This has occurred in professional and leisure contexts and can happen immediately and/or develop over time.
Among the ways this can manifest is with the following outward behaviors: performing, showing off, attempts to charm or amuse, ogling (surreptitious and/or opportunistic), flirting, trying to manipulate others’ impressions of him. He is often unaware that he is doing these things while they are happening or after.
It feels important to disclose that, although **** will be actively trying to avoid these problems and Susannah will be observing for outward signs of them, they may occur and will need to be actively managed or mitigated for in order to stop them impeding the goals of the therapy.
It went pretty well, although neither of us was completely satisfied with her response or that the disclosure seemed to catch her off-guard. So we went on with the sessions and it went okay, but he admitted afterward that he struggled with fetishizing a piece of her clothing, just as he had at the interview a week ago. I suspect he is struggling even more than he told me because he went home and immediately started looking for a male therapist. So, obviously, I'm glad things turned out this way. He was able to prove to himself that he probably can not have a female therapist. But the whole thing still makes me just want to crawl into a cave and have a good, long sleep.
Yes, although this inventorying process is nowhere near complete yet. He keeps remembering things. sigh
Woo hoo hibernation!
Another morning - another disclosure. This post will serve both as an acknowledgement of your post (Ghostwriter) and a general journal post/rant/expression of frustration.
Another rough morning. We have to go to the female therapist this afternoon. We put in two calls to male therapists that use the technique my husband wants, but both had waiting lists. (This fucking disease - I hate it - It's everywhere.) So my husband really wanted to continue with the one we had because he says he's on the verge of "discovering something". In addition, he has been put in a situation at work where now he has to work one-on-one with a young, pretty colleague for a number of months, and was going to have a video meeting with her this morning. Video meetings are even worse than in person, because he is free to ogle shamelessly and continuously throughout the meeting, memorizing her "for later". For instance, oh, I don't know? - like when he's having sex with me? Oh - and to make it even worse, she's foreign, so not only is she one of the mystical, magical young creatures, she's a rare variety of that class - exotic, as well! Yay! But it won't take him a number of months to become obsessed with her. It'll be pretty much instantaneous. So I was already dealing with those things for the day ahead. But I was managing. I just needed to wake up feeling some kind of connection with him. Instead, I woke to him informing me that he had to get off his chest that he had not told the full truth about a previous disclosure, but wanted to tell me "some evening" when he could do it justice. So now THAT was dropped onto the other crap I was already struggling with. Okay - so steel myself and move on. THEN, he began a trip down memory lane, telling me about a highschool hiking trip and a girl he had a crush on. A tall, red-headed, musician. I am a tall, red-headed musician. I think he meant to provide some sort of evidence that I am "the type" he likes, but for me it was just another instance of him dreaming about someone else (something he is prone to do, ie obsess about previous fantasy objects). And in this case, a person just like me! A tall red-headed musician! Just like me, but with a 17 yr old body! Yay!
Then he began to feel bad that he had triggered me and ended up getting ME to, once again, come to his rescue and comfort HIM! SO now I am just trying to re-steel myself in order to get through the day. Writing here, trying to think of distracting activities, focusing on acceptance of the position I am in, trying not to jump off a bridge. I am so sick of all this. I want to be loving and generous and kind, but how much am I expected to bear? How strong do I have to be? How thick a callous do I have to grow around my heart? He keeps getting more and more dependent on me, clinging more to me, expressing more and more that he is desperate to keep me, but I find myself loving him less every day.
You know, could the visual video portion of those calls be disabled? An unfortunate technical glitch?
It's called divorce.
Another painful day and more venting. One of those where it feels as if I keep reaching out and reaching out. Then when I need a little something, I can't get it. I end up having to comfort him. Earlier, during dinner (my only meal today), after a long day of being made to feel like the ugliest troll on earth, he looks at me and says, "So.. you're really digging to that dinner." Just...fuck you. So he is having a shower while I sit in the bedroom fuming with resentment wondering how much I can take. I feel so trapped. Just sitting around waiting to hear how he lied / minimized, whatever... on his last disclosure. I realized that I don't even remember the last time my stomach didn't hurt.
Today is better. We both had a crap day yesterday and it will need a post-mortem at some point, but not now. Before going to sleep last night I suggested we just chalk it up to being a crap day and decide that it would end when we went to sleep. We would both commit to waking up either feeling good or faking it 'til we make it. He agreed and it seemed to work. We are both in a much better place right now.
What a difference a day makes...
I haven’t been journaling much lately. I’ve been deeply immersed in trying to distract myself by cleaning and de-cluttering the entire house. This started after our most recent D-Day, nearly 4 weeks ago. With that began an “emergency” ridding of the house of my husband’s hidden porn stash along with any and all things addiction related - phone contacts, Facebook “friends”, photos on his phone, etc. That discovery event has left me feeling so filthy by association, that I simply cannot get things clean enough. I have been systematically combing through everything we own, donating things, rearranging things, throwing things away, scrubbing things. Every day, I wake up and feel disgusted by our surroundings. Everything, inside and out, feels tainted by this sickness. I even want to paint the walls and sand the floors. How did I end up in this situation? I was so naïve. As I have combed through old photos, 40 year old letters, my husband’s old journals (which I had previously not read, out of concern for his privacy), memories, etc., I have come to see that, in retrospect, his addiction was always there (long before me) and has driven almost everything in his life. I am also beating myself up for not putting things together much earlier than I did. I see that I was in deep denial myself, both about his illness, and about the damage I was sustaining throughout. I must admit that I have even contemplated suicide more than once. It seems preferable to spending the rest of my days immersed in the fallout of this addiction, fallout I am condemned to, whether I stay with him or not. I simply can’t ever look at him, myself, or the world in the same way I did. I used to be upbeat, confident, and tried to think the best of everyone. Now I have his addiction – I scan for women wherever I go, I rank women based on their conformity to HIS preferences, innocent things look sexual to me, I look at other men in order to see if they are ogling, I suspect men I used to regard highly as probably being secret porn addicts themselves, because, after all, everyone seems to be. At the very least, I wonder how many photos of their penis they’ve texted out today. I KNOW this is a distorted view and is directly brought on by being mired in this addiction vortex, and that is my point – my mind has been warped. There seems to be no beauty left in the world - only dehumanizing lust and degradation. So I’ll keep cleaning. Maybe the restoration of clean and some order in my surroundings will bring a de-cluttering of my mind.
One of the most incomprehensible aspects of dealing with this addiction has been the vast discrepancy between my husband’s words and stated principles and his behaviors and private thoughts. He sees himself as extremely progressive, has highly evolved views on many subjects, and has always been politically and socially active. He has behaved responsibly in many areas of his life, is highly educated, and extremely intelligent. He can be very thoughtful and kind to friends and family. But connected to many of those good attributes are equal and opposite disgusting actions:
He has gone to marches supporting women’s equality, AND sorted, ogled and objectified every woman there.
He has demonstrated on behalf of racial justice AND sought out videos dehumanizing black men (“Blonde Schoolgirl Pounded by BBC!”)
He lovingly raised two daughters AND saved vile porn and left it carelessly lying around the house where they could easily find it.
He taught those same daughters to treat animals kindly AND watched videos of chained dogs and horses being masturbated by humans.
He has been a loyal and trusted employee AND stolen employer’s time by watching porn and masturbating at work.
He has treated me with love, tenderness and respect AND lied to me, gaslighted me, ogled everybody but me, and hurt me during sex because he suffered PIED and had conditioned himself so that violence was the only way he could finish.
He has protested on behalf of migrant children AND if those same children were 13 year old naked migrant girls, he would have no compunction about paying for their bondage with his clicks and masturbating over them.
Your two cents are always invaluable. I intellectually understand the things you are saying. I'm just waiting for my stomach to catch up. And then there are the philosophical questions all this raises....what do we mean by "evil"? does it even exist? at the end of the day is all of our behavior just "situational"? etc. And maybe what terrifies me the most is the idea that he could succumb again. He's so hurt and we don't even yet know in what way. One thing's for sure - his mid-brain has dominated for most of his life. So I need to convey optimism about his chances for recovery but am terrified he can't succeed long-term. I can't go through this again. I'm not even sure I can go through it this time.
It's been an up-and-down kind of week. I can report that my husband seems to be showing improvement and we have had some really close moments over the last few days. He has spoken, without defensiveness, about some of the distorted patterns of thought and behavior he has been operating under for so long. The denial seems to be falling away. He has been very proactive about taking precautions when he has to deal with women at work. He works from home 4 days per week, so has to have frequent video meetings. These have been very problematic in the past because he took them as an opportunity to act out, staring at and fantasizing about the women on the screen. So recently, he has managed to move windows around or turn off video so that targets are not in his view. He reports success with this method.
The best news is that he reports that he feels satisfaction when he is able to make it through a meeting without inappropriate thoughts or ogling. He has chosen to make the process of changing his thinking "fun". That seems a good strategy to me. This is all to the good.
So why do I still feel so bad sometimes? I realized yesterday that I still experience pain and disappointment mixed with my happiness and relief even when he is reporting success with behaviors and thoughts. Why? I think a part of me is still hurt that he EVER felt the way he did. The fact is that he was straying from me for almost all of the time I have known him. Now with all the disclosures and the falling away of the denial, I am finding out that the situation in his mind was much worse than I ever suspected. He was essentially thinking of practically nothing else but other women - obsessing about them, ogling them, fantasizing about them, showing off for them, etc. All the while saying he was in love with me and devoted to me. Even if his thinking cleared completely and he never had another wayward thought again, it would still be immensely painful to me that he had lived that way in the past. It also makes me so wary. I fear I will never be able to trust him, no matter how things change for him. I worry very much whether he is sincere now. It FEELS sincere, but history has shown that I can be fooled.
This has all been a bit of a problem for us. My wariness and triggering are very active and I express those because we have agreed to be out in the open with our feelings. But he wants constant cheerleading about his successes. I am very happy to provide that and I am genuinely enthusiastic most of the time. But it is difficult to feel this enthusiasm and provide convincing cheerleading while I am withering from hurt inside. So I try, but he always knows when it is forced and he feels hurt. What he really wants is for me to only feel the enthusiasm and pride in his accomplishment and to have the facts of our past not affect me at all. In other words, now that "he's better!" I can forget about all that stuff in the past. He never says, "get over it", but there is the implication that my feelings of wariness and pain are indications of a lack of confidence in him. Neither of us can help our feelings, so it is a difficult situation. Nothing would give me greater relief and happiness than being able to forget about the past, push the reset button and move forward with a normal life and a normal, healthy husband. But it is impossible for me. And frankly he hasn't earned it. He has 20 minutes of sobriety, understands what an asshole he has been, says he's sorry, and then I'm supposed to live and think as if nothing ever happened, because to do otherwise might threaten his recovery?
I am the exact same @Susannah and I have good reason to be. My husband has faked Recovery a few times before now. But the best indicator I have found so far is his level of motivation and effort put into recovery. I know previously it dwindled slowly until it just completely stopped at which time before he would insist it's because he doesn't need it anymore, that he's not feeling the urges or thoughts anymore etc which was all a complete lie. He now admits that his porn use at this point had never stopped and he basically had no interest in the work. This is also why Alarm bells start sounding now for me as soon as he starts slacking off, showing no interest in his work etc....
All of this.... you have probably heard me talk about this video series before... "Helping her Heal" by Dr Doug Weiss.
Honestly, this 2 part series is well worth the $$ spent. You can buy online and download. These have really helped my husband understand my point of view on the pain and suffering I've felt and how it's impossible to just switch that off like it didn't happen - nor is it healthy. I would highly recommend you get these and get your husband to watch it with you. They are brilliant. They go for 2 hours, we did them in 2 sittings. My husband has said he wants to try and watch them over a few times and really get the tips and advice in his head so this is promising, I hope he does!!! Link is below.
Thank you, friend!