Author Topic: EXCELLENT article and why "sobriety" is not enough for partners  (Read 1451 times)

stillme

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This is honestly the only article I have read in over a year of dealing with my husband's porn addiction/porn recovery that gets at the 'thing' that has bugged me so much about all of this. I am honestly almost in tears reading something that truly 'gets it'.

http://nationalpsychologist.com/2015/03/sexual-sobriety-leaves-victims-untreated/102810.html#.VTZpRw5KEaw.gmail

The article is titled: Sexual Sobriety Leaves Victims Untreated

Here is one paragraph from the article:
A disorder of chronic lying in a family system is pathology and requires treatment, regardless of sexual acting out or not. Chronic patterns of establishing and maintaining a deceptive, compartmentalized sexual-relational system in an intimate relationship or family system, is pathology and harmful, which is more accurate in description then simply “compulsive pornography use.”


This article stuck out to me because a common theme among partners is that is wasn't so much the porn use that was the trauma, it was the lying and deception. THAT is my issue still. While I congratulate my husband on being over a year porn free, that does nothing to address the years of lying, deception, leading a double life - those things are not addressed by simply stopping the use of porn. The months and months and literally thousands of dollars we spent on therapy did nothing to address the pathology of lying and deception. It was all focused on abstaining from porn, understanding triggers, avoiding relapse. That was all fine and good, but the issue for me was - how in the world do you deny your wife sex, go jack off to porn, and then slip into the bed and go to sleep as if nothing happened? How do you create an intricate set of lies so that you get out of parenting duties for the sole purpose of getting online to jack off to porn? That isn't about the addiction to porn, it is about dealing with behavior that wasn't 'compulsive', it was intentional, planned, and tool large amounts of work to hide. That aspect has never been addressed, not by his counselors, not by his weekly men's group, not even by my counselor. Everyone attacked aggressively the porn use and acting out, but what I needed addressed was the lying, deception, manipulation, and gas lighting. This article points out that it is a gapping hole in therapy and one reason for unaddressed trauma of partners.

Emerald Blue

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Re: EXCELLENT article and why "sobriety" is not enough for partners
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2017, 09:31:23 AM »
Very interesting article. The one thing that gets overlooked in porn addiction and recovery circles is the planning and *protection* of the addict's behaviour. Porn is often portrayed as a spur-of-the-moment activity which is beyond control. If someone walks in on a guy jerking off to a screen, you'll find out how easy it is for that guy to suddenly become very much in control.

My partner has also quit using porn but he hasn't quit his evasiveness and tendency to lie by omission. He hasn't recovered his empathy. He doesn't understand what trust means and that it has to be earned rather than something to be expected of me. Not only that, but he doesn't see trust and deception as being incompatible, and that's probably because these traits co-existed and served him well for years. I placed my trust in him and he abused it, and he assumed he could always lie his way out of a difficult situation.

When someone knowingly lies and then they get angry at you for not believing that lie, OR if they agree to be honest with you and continue to lie, and even that commitment to honesty was a lie, it really fucks up your head. On the rare occasions when my husband was truthful, he would even backtrack by saying "I don't know what you're talking about".

The other traumatic aspect has been his inability intolerance and angry reactions to my being triggered. We all experience triggers, especially early on whether it's watching TV or going out somewhere and you see the ogling, or you're reminded of one of your porn discoveries. On one occasion my husband, in some stupid trance, actually started following a group of young women and walked right past the door of the restaurant we were going to, because he was ogling their asses. I mean, WTF? It's very upsetting to discover you're with "THAT guy". Yes, "THAT guy" is your fucking husband. So, I get triggered, my mood plummets, sometimes I want to leave the place, leave the room. And guess what? I'm the one who gets told I'm being ridiculous, or suspicious, that I'm the one who is out of order. I've even been called a "loony" when I was triggered in the early months after d day. And against a background of constant lying. It was only when I read Paula Hall's book that I read about triggers for the first time. Triggers are a symptom of trauma. I guess I was and still am astounded by his lack of empathy.

Even after all this time, all that I've been through in the past 2 years, just how far have I come? How much better is my life? The painful truth is - not a lot. I'm depressed. I'm alone. Im just left to deal with my shit. He demands the lions share of my emotional energy but gives very little back in terms of support or understanding. He's quit porn and he thinks the job is done. He doesn't really try to resolve any relationship issues as they occur. He leaves it all unresolved. He's replaced porn with an obsession about work even though after d day he said he realised his priorities should be his relationship and life at home, but now his obsessing about work is worse than ever. I'm so fucking lonely in this relationship all over again and I'm seeking professional support all over again. So what has actually changed? Not a lot.

My way of thinking is that if this deception crap isn't resolved, and if the empathy doesn't return, and you've done your fucking best to do everything right, to seek help, to read the books, and you're still left with this lying, denying, deceiving excuse of a man then cut your losses and run. Me, I feel utterly trapped by my circumstances.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

aquarius25

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Re: EXCELLENT article and why "sobriety" is not enough for partners
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2017, 09:43:18 AM »
Great article and great awareness. Thanks for sharing.

stillme

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Re: EXCELLENT article and why "sobriety" is not enough for partners
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2017, 10:00:26 AM »
I totally understand EB

The only reason my husband is still in the family home (but not in my bedroom) is because he is a decent father. He wants to make up for his not being there emotionally and physically for the kids when he was addicted to porn, so he is going out of his way to be "super dad". But, as far as our marriage is concerned, it is pretty much over. He says he wants to make things right and do the right thing and 'win me back', but I was honest with him - I am not interested.

His lying and deception and betrayal cut do deep and I needed to see significant gains following his recovery from porn and the gains just weren't there. He 'said' all the right things. If I just listened to his words, I would be floating on cloud nine. However, I stepped back and observed his behavior. The true, intimate connection just wasn't there. He spends the majority of his time feeling sorry for himself. If I start a conversation to talk about how "I" feel, within ten minutes the conversation has turned to how sorry he feels and how bad he feels and his eyes get weepy and his voice shakes and the theatrics start. But, after all of that, he would not have done one thing to console 'me'. There would be no reassurances of his commitment. There would be no reaching out to me. Not once has my husband ever walked into a room, put his arms around me, and say, "You did not deserve this."

I remember one day early after d-day. He broke down and I put my arms around him and told him everything would be okay and we would get through this. I felt all of this emotion come out of him, it was like I was helping to lift the weight of the world off of his shoulders. Not once has he ever returned the favor. Not shortly after d-day, not a year later. If I do happen to break down and cry he will stand there and look at me like a deer in headlights. He will then turn into a sad puppy as if waiting for me to tell him all is well.

He also doesn't want to accept his role as a liar. He too will get mad when I don't believe him straight away. Sometimes he will say, "I know you don't believe me, but ...." I will sit there and say, "If you know I don't believe you, why are you still talking?" My motto has become - actions, not words. You are judged only on what you do, not what you say. This has driven him completely bonkers, because he does not know how to make his actions align with his words. He will say, "I am going to make this up to you." Okay, what are you going to do? Welp, then he is stumped, because he hasn't a clue. However, there are a number of books and resources out there, he has supposedly read some, but he still doesn't have the ability to actually implement anything real and deep. Sure, he can buy flowers and jewelry and pay for holidays and such. But, he doesn't know how to have an intimate, deep connection.

He proposes constantly that we 'start over', without understanding that if I am going to 'start over', I am definitely not choosing a relationship with a recovering porn addict. If I am going to 'start over', I'll take my chances with someone that hasn't lied to me, gas lighted me, betrayed our marriage vows, used household funds for porn videos, etc. Why would I 'start over' with that? What he is really saying is, 'I don't want to have to do the hard, tiring, slow moving, fully committed work of fixing the relationship that I broke. Can we just act like little kids that sweep all the dirt under the rug or hide the dirty clothes in the back on the closet and pretend the room is clean?' He can't understand that if this relationship was going to survive, it was going to have to fixed - with every broken brick repaired and all the dirt cleaned off. He didn't want to do that.

But, that is a part of porn addiction. They have been training hard for the 'easy fix', ejaculation without work and without trying to meet the needs of the other person. So, this marriage is dead. Right now, we are basically just living in the same house to make co-parenting easier.