Author Topic: Conflicting Recovery  (Read 3496 times)

stillme

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Conflicting Recovery
« on: November 22, 2016, 03:18:37 PM »
I have to ask if anyone has experienced "conflicting recovery" issues before? What I mean by that is - when your partner that is recovering from porn addiction needs something in conflict from what you feel you need? My husband and I are continuing to try and figure things out, lots has transpired over the last few weeks - some good, some not.
One thing that happened is my husband felt it was important to no longer "hide" his issues. He told his parents (he is close to them) what happened. Of course, his mother's reaction was to blame me for not being a "good enough" wife. While my husband says he defended me and he backed down (I wasn't there), I am still pissed off. His father just told him "Oh well, you can't change the past" and proceeded to let him know that he would support him and - "Oh well, if we get divorced it will probably be hard on your wife, but she can handle it." My husband is thrilled to no longer be in "hiding" and I am now absolutely horrified that even more people know that my husband would rather jack off to porn than have sex with his wife. Now, that isn't entirely true - my husband has been PMO free for six months (confirmed with a polygraph, has now seen porn since d-day). His mother and I don't have the best relationship and she couldn't wait to get her hands on that information. So now, I am pretty much hiding in the house, not even wanting to show my face as I am sure the entire extended family of great aunt Betty and cousin Tony three times removed have all been told that that I am so terrible in bed my husband had to go off on the computer and she always knew I wouldn't make a good wife after all.

UGH! I know my dh didn't do it to be spiteful, he was thought it was good to stop hiding behind the nice, 'perfect husband' persona. However, the way that society works - he is off the hook and I am being looked at like a big failure. Not one person, even though he knows of multiple that have been told, had reached out a hand of support to me. Lots of folks "rooting for him" and letting him know he is still a great guy, his is awesome and amazing, and wow - look what a brave soul he is for admitting he isn't perfect.

Sure, he is defending me and trying to "defend my honor" as best he can. But, the damage is done and once again - I look and feel like an absolute fool. I swear being married to a porn addict is pretty much the gift that keeps on giving - only lumps of coal instead of tidings of joy.

BuddhaAwake

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2016, 03:53:41 PM »
I am so sorry that you have been put in such a difficult situation. Did your husband discuss that he was going to share this info with his parents before he did so? That you wrote you are not sure if he did it to be spiteful suggests he did not. You should have been part of the decision if he did not.

From a PA's perspective, this looks like a selfish clearing of his conscience at your expense. I believe he had the obligation to put your right to privacy ahead of his need/desire to "unburden" himself. He betrayed you with his PA, not them. He is your husband, not theirs. You are the one he needs to make amends to, not them. By dropping "the perfect husband" persona with them he has betrayed you again.

Even in recovery we addicts can continue to be selfish and leave a trail of misery in our path.

His parents' reactions suggest to me that they have made excuses and enabled him in the past. Still, that does not excuse his behavior.

You need not feel a fool nor hide. Hold your head high, and call out anyone who says otherwise. Can you and your husband sit down with his parents and clear the air? They need to be clear about the true nature of PA.


mobilfreak

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2016, 03:56:57 PM »
As a husband and porn addicted, i can only say how sorry i am. I do feel for your situation but will also tell u that his addiction has nothing or very very little to do with you.

To your question about conflicts, i have told my wife about my addictions, and she wants to support me, but on the other hand she can feel sometimes its to much talk about my problems, addiction and so on. This is not helping me, i feel like i dont can be able to open up to her, and I do understand her too, she want to spend time together and have fun. But we are open and talk about it and share our feelings. Its always feels better afterwards, even if we dont think the same way, we get closer to each other by telling the other spouse the inner feelings in our hearts and thats makes our marriage stronger.

I hope u will found a way too to let all out and lift of the burden of your schoulders

aquarius25

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2016, 05:31:54 PM »
Stillme, that is a very difficult situation. We had a similar experience with a friend who attacked me even when my husband was trying to stand up for me. It was pretty rough, so I can't imagine how it would feel to have it be your in law's. I am so sorry.

As for a speaking to the conundrum of recovery yes I have experienced a few. One being when I was trying to be open with him, as that is extremely important for my recovery, I realized it created more shame for him. When I would communicate my hurt and be open to telling him how this had effected me he would feel terrible, and rightfully so. The realization of the damage made him feel so bad about himself. He would even call himself a monster from time to time. Knowing that shame is one the big factors that cause him to go to porn in the first place I then felt bad and worried that if he relapsed then it would be partially my fault.  SO on one hand I wanted to communicate but on the other I felt that by being honest about my feelings I was making the situation worse. I ended up putting my recovery aside for a bit to allow him time to get some distance from D-day so he was less inclined to relapse. As a partner this entire thing is layered with so many difficulties. It goes way beyond hurt. I feel like it has messed with my perception of myself and others as such a visceral level. I am constantly surprised at how much this experience has changed me.

AnonymousAnnaXO

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2016, 08:58:07 PM »
Stillme I completely understand. I think I posted when you were gone, but my partner posted on Facebook for everyone to see that he is a porn addict. I love him, and I was so proud he wasn't lying and hiding, but there was a HUGE backlash on me. People called me controlling, crazy, abusive, and thought I wrote the post.

I have worked things out with his family for the most part. And my partner did defend me the best he could, but in the end it was me defending myself that really changed their mind.

And yeah recoveries do have conflicts. My partner said he wanted more freedom, and I said I am not ready to give that to him yet (i.e. him doing internet things on his own, or other things like playing video games on his computer, or having certain apps unclocked on his phone). I told him I needed more time and more trust to be earned back. So I feel like I might be holding him back at the moment, but he is respecting I need more time. It really is a balancing act and a lot of communication.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" - sir Walter Scott

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cuppatea

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2016, 11:16:20 PM »
Yeah i he went ahead and did that without discussing with you first then that seems out of line as it effects not just him but you and your kids as well really.

This is exactly the sort of reaction i fear and is why I've told no one in real life about it. I'm really sorry you now have this challenge to go through too

Kimba

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2016, 02:00:54 AM »
I am not surprised but its pretty sad isn't it. People are so dumb sometimes.
Family should support you fully but they probably dont understand how bad the porn shit is out there these days, the stuff I saw was pretty confronting and I only saw the tip...

My partners family would tear me to pieces for sure ha ha, his mum is passed but his dad is a complete wacko, I mean this man just recently got his Cred Card taken off him because he owes over 30,000$ on Prostitutes and he's 82 years old, so he would think he son is just being a MAN...

I think his Dad is part of the problem to be honest, like really, I said to my partners sister about it and how I felt sorry for the girl pro and she said oh well she's getting paid isn't she... Bloody moron...

Anyway I hope things improve and Im sure they will :)

 
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Anona

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2016, 05:14:33 PM »
Am I the only one who compare porn use with having an affair and wonders how his family can blame anyone but him ?
So HE is having an affair, and all of a sudden YOU are to blame ?

I just do not get it..
Please help me out and explain the logic ..
 :o

BuddhaAwake

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2016, 05:35:16 PM »
Aquarious- I was very touched by your post. It reminds me of two things about addicts:

1. When we awake to the reality of our addiction we often remain very self-centered. OUR pain is what counts, and we want others to tell us everything is okay. We want instant forgiveness and trust, and are shocked when we don't receive it. We PAs have to accept the consequences of our actions, and start putting others' needs first.

What you think and feel matters!

2. Never under-estimate the ability of addicts to use any means to protect ourselves. I myself have used the "I'm so ashamed, I'm terrible, I don't know how you can stand me" strategy in the past to deflect attention from what I have been and done and to elicit sympathy. I'm not saying your partner is doing this and I don't mean to give you something else to worry about, but I have seen this behavior in myself and in other addicts-whether we are aware of it or not.

I firmly believe there is nothing as deceptive and devious as the mind of an addict.

Emerald Blue

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2016, 06:51:42 PM »
Buddha, I'm interested in what you are saying about strategies for eliciting sympathy. I see it with my partner, the "I'm so awful" tactic. It seems to me to tie in with shame and self loathing which I know is a barrier to progress. How can we encourage our addict partners to get past this?
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

BuddhaAwake

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2016, 07:34:16 PM »
Emerald, I can speak only from my own experience and from discussions with other addicts. Anything we could say that would cast us in a better light and/or minimize the extent of our addiction. Anything that would keep the focus on us- our needs, our feelings. It doesn't even need to be verbal. A facial expression, bowing our head in shame, shrugging our shoulders helplessly. The ace in the hole- when faced with a partner's feelings that are uncomfortable, we call ourselves all kinds of nasty names and wait for our partner to comfort us.


The problem is that it is difficult to differentiate if the addict is genuine or not. You want to believe him, and he may use that against you. "I know you won't believe me but..." or "I know I don't deserve another chance but..." "You probably think I'm awful but..." We frame the situation in such a way as to tie you in knots and encourage you to doubt yourself. If we muddy the waters and overwhelm you enough, you'll leave us alone!

Sometimes we just sit stoically and let our partner dig the ditch for us, either by participating in minimizing the situation and their feelings or making excuses for us. We withdraw and wait for our partner to come to us with words of assurance and comfort- all when we should be offering comfort and understanding to our partner. We ask for help and then explain why we don't need it or can't accept it.

Or we nod our heads in agreement all the while thinking what we want to do and how to do it without getting caught.

Yeah, sometimes it's that brutal.

You are right that you did not cause the problem and it is not your responsibility to fix it.

In terms of wanting to help an addict to get past manipulative behavior, I would stay firm in asserting the truth as you see it and call him on every lie no matter how hurt he acts/reacts. Every lie you let go by just reaffirms our belief that we are getting away with it.

Most of all, don't doubt yourself. If you think we are lying, trust your inner voice and call us on it. We'll pretend to be shocked and hurt, but we have to see that those strategies don't work anymore.

My therapist can call me on a lie without even speaking. She just watches and listens and waits. I crack under the pressure.

It's a hard, messy thing to deal with, addiction of any kind. It's not for the timid and there is no shame in washing your hands of it and walking away if you can. But in many cases it is worth the fight. I've seen enough recovery in alcoholism and drugs to know this is true. In fairness, I've also seen it fair miserably, even when both people are fully committed to recovery and the relationship.

In terms of helping an addict who genuinely feels shame and disgust, I would say to remind him that those feelings of shame and disgust are fuel for the addiction. "You are not a monster- you are an addict who has come to the truth and is now in recovery." "You can't change the past but you can change the present." "You are worthy of love and respect and trust- but you must know that I will not tolerate any more lies." "If you want my trust you have to EARN it."

We often resist when our partners assert their needs and express their feelings. If we can outlast you we prevail.

I hope any of this makes sense and helps.

cuppatea

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2016, 07:44:44 PM »
Thank you Buddawake because now I know for sure I'm not crazy, all of what you have written is what is deal with. I've told him he's gaslighting me. All these crazy making circular conversations happen or we end up arguing what the word honest means etc, it's like living in the fucking twilight zone

aquarius25

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2016, 07:45:03 PM »
I don't know about Buddah's comment but I can share how my partner and I have pushed past that point. I finally got to a place where I put my recovery first and stopped putting him as my priority. I do believe that he is past it. He understands as a very deep level the degree of his recovery and he is at a point in his recovery that he realizes that he has been self centered and it is healing for him to put someone other than himself first. I got to a point where I just couldn't take on his addiction. I finally decided that if he relapsed then I wasn't going to assume any responsibility for it. After all he would be the one carving out the time, turning on the computer, surfing the interned, unzipping out his pants, making sure there is some sort of lubricant around, stroking his dick, and jizzing all over himself. Now that didn't happen but there are a lot of step there!!! At any one of those points he could demonstrate self control and stop. I realized I can't force him to have self control. I am not asking him for controls on our computers. If he need to do that for himself then great I will support that but its his call. I am learning how to trust again and it was a huge step to on take on his recovery. He has been doing a good job every day he doesn't relapse to slowly earn my trust again. He has a choice everyday to put me ahead of Porn. He has decided for me, his family, and for himself to choose self control over his addiction. I think that by me finally telling him my feelings and not worrying about how they made him feel allowed him to fully understand the severity of the situation. Catering to his emotions, I believe, was actually sort of enabling.

We still have our issues for sure but we are both in a way better place than we were.

aquarius25

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2016, 07:48:54 PM »
Sorry Buddah your response was awesome. I had started typing mine before you responded. Thank you for an insightful response.

Emerald Blue

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2016, 06:08:34 AM »
Thanks, Buddha. I suppose it's very much down to the individuals and their styles of communication. The difficulty with lying is that often you won't know you are being lied to.  We all like to think we are smart enough to be able to spot a lie a mile off, especially with our partners, but that's not realistic.  In truth, we are more likely to believe a lie because we want to believe that our partner wouldn't do that to us.  That's why is that old cliche about the wife or the husband always being the last to know is very true.  I'm not under the illusion any more.

I don't think my husband manipulates me emotionally.  I'm not sure that he wants to elicit sympathy but I would say that he wants to project a particular image of himself. This is also true in his work situation. He's one of those people who has a very different face in public compared to in private. After d day I realised that he actually had another "face" that he used to interact with me.Its a barrier that I feel gets in the way of progress. I don't think he's playing the sympathy card, it's more a damage limitation strategy. He's like a politician who chooses his words very carefully.

Aquarius,  you are absolutely right. True recovery happens when we disengage from our addict partners.  We have very little influence over their decisions.  I feel that if my partner was to sit down in front of a porn site it would be a foregone conclusion that he would act out in full, and I also believe that he would not tell me about it either.  Some days I think, "I just can't be bothered with this any more".  Sometimes I feel I've had enough of taking on the burden of someone else's bad decisions. I didn't ask for it yet I have to deal with the consequences.

Unfortunately quitting porn isn't enough to repair a relationship. It's not the acting out part of the habit that does the most damage. It's all of the problems created by maintaining the habit. I'm having one of those days when I feel that I can't be bothered with all the hard work of being in a relationship with a recovering porn addict.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 11:47:44 AM by Emerald Blue »
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

BuddhaAwake

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Re: Conflicting Recovery
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2016, 12:06:16 PM »
Awesome responses, aquarious and emerald! No need to apologize, aquarious- your post was spot on!

When I told my wife about my PA and asked her to put safety blocks on our computers she refused. She told me it was my problem and that I needed to take the responsible steps to stop. I thought she was being heartless at the time but came to see that it was my responsibility and I'm glad that she put herself first rather than meshing with my recovery.