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 Post subject: Sunshine Healing Thread
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:07 am 
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I don't know how to 'start a thread'. Maybe this will work. Or should it go somewhere else?
Want to put up Exercise 2: My Vision
I am someone who is strong, resilient, loving and open. I am not a victim of this trauma and abuse of my trust, my hopes, my dreams. I am a person with faith and belief in herself and compassion for human beings. For our strengths and our weaknesses. However, I also know where to draw the line between compassion and idiot compassion. I am strong in myself and a committed mother. I make time to play, listen to and actively love my children. I continue to be in a fulfilling career and to do the overseas travel that I need to do. I am a support to my friends and family and my friends and family support me. My priorities remain clear and I remain open hearted. I have returned to be sexually confident and happy woman that I was before I married.
To work on... hobbies, spirituality, physical health etc. As a busy working mother with an emotionally needy husband, the latter have slipped. Thank you mentor. I need to come back to these and will do...
I make time for myself. In the short term, this means that I go for a run regularly, bathing in my beautiful surroundings, physically working out the tricky energy that all this is causing. I will return to my meditation practice. I will be kind to myself as this will not be right now. Right now I am putting spare moments into doing this course. I will have completed this course. I will have found ways to 'give back' the gift that has been given to me by all the RN team.


Exercise 3A) Brainstorm the times when your 'gut feelings' have been right about your partner's sexual and/or romantic behavior. Include times when you feel strongly that you were right (though it may never have been proven either way).
- when he treats me like a walking vagina and has no discernment about me as a human being.
- when he has made inappropriate references to sex in family contexts
- when he contacts people he used to know out of the blue and gets upset when they dont respond. He forces himself onto them with all the might of his need in some online setting, no wonder they dont respond. But some do. Others that are as needy I suppose
- he rarely makes love to me, it feels like he goes through stages in a porn film or a recipe book
- when he used to punish me if we werent having enough sex and totally overreact and be devastated.
- when I first met him I couldnt stroke his hair.

B) Identify as many major situations as you can where you allowed your head/heart to override your 'gut feelings' in relation to your partner's behavior.
- I dont really have any as it happens when I am away for work.
- I suppose I have always known that his attitude to sex wasn't healthy. When I wouldnt sleep with him on our first date he was devastated. Literally. He used to be devastated when I couldnt have sex as often as he wanted. He took it so personally. Always a massive overreaction. But we did work on this. A lot. And moved forward. Yet, he was also taking his sexual energy elsewhere...

C) Relying on the experience you have gained, make a list of likely behaviors, situations and/or feelings that may trigger a conflict between your gut instinct, your value system and/or reality.

My husband being online late at night- this is the primary one.
Me being away for work will be a trigger.
How can I reconcile these two beings- the really wonderful husband and the betrayer? I don't know about gut instincts and reality at this moment. But I suppose that is why this exercise is here, to remind us that somehow we do. Let's see...


Last edited by sunshine74 on Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:55 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:55 pm 
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Quote:
I don't know how to 'start a thread'. Maybe this will work. Or should it go somewhere else?
Want to put up Exercise 2: My Vision

This is exactly how you start a thread. For each lesson, you will come back to this thread and hit "reply" in order to continue to post your lessons into this thread.

I didn't see your lesson one posted - did you complete it elsewhere or are you not comfortable posting it? If you are comfortable sharing your story, you can include that as well, in the same manner as above.

I encourage you to come back to your vision as you work through your lessons and determine if your life is congruous with what you have written (and if not, does that mean that you have to make more changes in your life, or changes to your vision?). It sounds like you have a strong grasp of the values that you want to live in your life. Ensure that you are including all aspects of your life that are important to you, and from which you can gain fulfilment - your family, friends and relationships, health and well-being, hobbies, faith, interests and passions, talents, goals and dreams, and/or whatever else is important in your life. Your vision will be one of the most important lessons of the workshop, because so many of the following lessons build on it.

Welcome to RN, sunshine. I love your alias.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:52 am 
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How excellent is this course. How lucky we are to have you mentors and this workshop. Thank you.

Exercise Four
1) Values in your partner's life that--in your gut--you believe is a part of him. Set aside the addiction and the behaviors that were a part of that addiction. Focus on what values you believe will survive the recovery process.
My husband has wonderful values.
- Family life. He is and is demonstrably committed to being a good father. And to being my husband (with the sexual addiction behaviour to one side). He supports me, listens to me, advises me, cares for me, nurtures me. He really does. He looks after our children while I work.
We come first to him.
- He is committed to personal growth and really does try hard to move forwards when difficult things come up.
- Work is important for earning money, social contact and self esteem. However, it is not the be all and end all.
Our life is all about the two above but he must have other values. Good point. We should discuss these.

2) Make a list of those qualities in your partner that you believe will continue to pose as obstacles throughout your relationship.
- he struggles with empathy
- he can be a bit arrogant
- his emotional state is very difficult to read. He is so good at hiding them but he is learning.
- dishonesty about his out of marriage sexual behaviour
- his sexual neediness that is very mixed up with emotional neediness and he struggles to separate the two.
- his groping of me as if I am a piece of meat.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:01 am 
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A. Because the discovery of your partner's addiction will no doubt reflect many commonalities with others, it is at the same time uniquely devastating to you. Take some time to share your background in relation to the discovery of your partner's sexual and/or romantic compulsions/addiction. Share an unadulterated version of your partner's addiction with someone you trust; or, anonymously in this forum.

If you choose someone you trust, then at least share a summary of the general patterns that are in play with your partner's addiction. And as a reminder, please do not use any personally-identifying information in your post.

I chose to tell someone that I trusted but maybe I could also flag it up here.
I opened a sexually explicit text from my husband's online lover. When confronted he basically claimed she was mad. That didnt make sense to me so I asked him to stay elsewhere until he could tell me the truth. The next day he came round with a list of 7 sexual behaviours that he engaged in secretly. He states these constitute the whole story. That all he wants is to work on his family and be with his family and that he will do anything. Fortunately, I found this amazing resource, RN. I knew when we married that he had never been faithful to any girl or woman. We believed we could conquer that. How naive!!I checked his story with her. It tallied. The other behaviour I don't want to to list here, it was a total utter shock to my value system but I am talking about some of it with my best friend who is very supportive.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:37 pm 
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A. How do you manage your stress? What would it take for you to become so emotionally overwhelmed that you would turn to irrational behavior to produce enough intensity to escape from that stress? Can you think of a time in your life that you have turned to such a measure?
Through my relationships. I talk with my husband, my mother, my brothers, my friends.
I go out into nature.
I breathe/meditate

20 years ago I self harmed for a short time as I lived with someone (else) who lived a double life. Someone who was due to have an arranged marriage so had a secrete life with me. I found about it all in a shocking manner and couldn’t understand how he could have lived such a double life.

B. Consider a compulsive behavior that you have engaged in. Break it down thoroughly. Get a sense for the anxiety that you experienced prior to engaging in the act. Imagine the continued anxiety that you would have experienced had you not engaged in the act. Describe that anxiety in your own words.

I have smoked during each of my long term relationship breakups. Smoking calms my nerves, calms the adrenaline, makes me feel like I have control over damaging myself rather than the other person. I am doing it now. It makes me feel calmer and more empowered (yes, totally irrational!). When life returns to a more even keel, I stop.

C. In contemplating the role that addiction has played in your partner's life, imagine what his/her life would be like without this life management skill in place. To be clear, the task here is not to imagine his life without the consequences of the addiction, but to imagine how he would manage his emotions without having the compulsive act to engage in. How would he stimulate himself emotionally? What would he use to regulate his stress? Not how should he, mind you, but how would he?

I think that he would engage in another compulsive act- play computer games and drink more beer. Both of these are also addictive. When he feels lonely he can’t cope so he tries to tune out. The resources that he has (meditation, me) aren’t available to him in these moments.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:58 am 
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Exercise Six
Understanding the sexualized mind will go a long way in allowing you to better relate to what you are currently experiencing. The more objective insights and awareness that you develop, the stronger will be your ability to maintain confidence and control in your life. And, the faster it will be achieved.

B. Quite often, many sexual behaviors occur with such subtlety, such consistency and/or are so well disguised (through humor, anger, guilt, etc.) that it is not until you filter these behaviors through a net of sexual addiction when you realize that they are indeed woven from the same cloth. But the reality is, the majority of sexual addicts have positioned themselves within a cocoon of sexuality that is not related to their personality, but rather, their addiction. With this in mind, think of your partner's behavior over the course of your relationship. Describe the patterns that you suspect can be attributed to a sexualized mind.
- the groping me when he walks past
- getting sulky, angry, devastated with anything he perceives as a sexual rejection to the point that any touch became loaded and risky.
- inappropriate sexual comments in a family context
- the lack of discernment when it comes to women- any female is as an other.
- the pornographic step by step approach to sex
- his rejection of my sexuality if it was in anyway non 'madonna' like
- touch being a prelude to sex, rather than affection, love etc.


C. Of the four areas discussed in this lesson, which have you observed in your partner?
- the sexualised mind, as discussed above
- the objectified mind. I have often expressed to my husband about his lack of discernment re women and his inability to relate to them in any way other than as sexual objects. All subtle of course.
- lack of ability to engage in delayed gratification.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:22 am 
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Exercise Seven
A. Consider the role that you have played in your partner's recovery to date. In the field below, describe these roles as they relate to:
I. Effective communication
I think that I have done OK. Using 'I feel...' He has been checking with me whether I am meaning to make him suffer or if I am just expressing my own confusion. I can't talk about some of the details with anyone else so it is actually a very lonely place to be for someone who talks through everything with her family and friends. I therefore need to talk to him. He is doing very well with that. I have managed to listen to him tell me his stories. Fortunately, he moved out for a week so we just met for an hour a day which gave us both space. I was very aware that talking too much would just result in me getting angry, him switching off and me getting angrier. So we kept meetings short. That really helped. I do sometimes feel that he hasn't suffered enough for what he has 'done to me'. But then I do know that he is suffering.

II. Managing your partner's recovery
I am very clear that I will NOT manage his recovery. He has made all the necessary phone calls, gone to appointments etc. I did find this site but I just gave him the link, told him I was doing it and have left the rest to him. I have told him that I will not monitor his behaviour. I did however remind him about putting the internet block on, which he did do immediately. I don't want to read his posts, but I also did want to check he was actually doing the course, so I did check. But that is it. I really don't want to become a suspicious person and what you say about taking responsibility removes his responsibility is so true. I have been there before and will not do it again.


III. Empowering/disempowering a pursuit of health
I am not quite sure what this means. I wonder if it is like people who don't want others to give up smoking because then they have the moral high ground? Anyway, I hope to be empowering my husband in his pursuit of health. Ah, maybe this is about the role model thing. Yes, I hope to be able to role model. I think that my brothers play (have played) a big role in that for him.

B. Consider the focus and attention that has been offered to your partner in recovery; are you gaining equal resource to heal your own wounds? If not, what can you do to ensure that your healing is considered every bit as important as your partner's recovery?
Thank goodness for this course!!! Otherwise I wouldn't be getting an equal resource. Who else can you talk to about your husband seeing a prostitute with total disregard for the consequences (especially when I work in the protection of women from abuse)? A lonely place to be in. Without this course, things could be very very different. What you say just MAKES SENSE. How easy it could have been to fall into 'he is just a bastard, selfish, quick get out of there girl'. Instead I have tools for seeing this as addiction, as something that is not HIM but a behaviour. Which was my gut instinct but seeing it in words really helped me to have confidence in my instinct.
The fact that you started the course with making me think through my values made me realise how limited my life had become to family. I am starting to run again and ensure that I have space for myself. Good life skills anyway.


C. (optional) For those who have made the decision to either stay in the relationship or "wait and see", considering the roles discussed in this lesson (or additional roles that you have thought of), what changes might you consider making to your relationship that would increase its chances for success?
- we are working through his attitude to my sexuality and that is really helpful. Repressing me from doing what I would do and then seeking it elsewhere was just daft. Now we are working on how he can allow me to be a sexual being, rather than his safe sexual object. We are working on loving touch, as opposed to sexual. We are going to make more time for us (we are very child-centred), putting the children to bed earlier and making sure we don't collapse exhausted but take some time to just 'be' together.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:40 am 
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Exercise Eight
While this workshop is about rebuilding your life, you are nonetheless impacted by the ongoing behavior of your partner (unless you have completely broken away from the relationship). For those who continue to be impacted by their partner's behavior:

A. Considering only objective signs of a healthy recovery/unhealthy recovery, what path do you think your partner is on? If on an unhealthy path, do you think this is due more to lack of insight about how to change, a lack of energy/motivation to change or a lack of desire to want to change?
Of course I want to/need to believe that he is on a healthy path to recovery. But also my instinct does tell me that he really does want to. I think that he had a real shock- living in a bed and breakfast for a week. He states that he wants to do 'everything possible'. He had 4 therapy sessions last week, he is doing this course each day, his behaviour was not so extreme (although extreme enough for me!) and the prostitute incident didn't work for him and he never returned , he deleted his facebook account off his own back, he sent clear messages to his online sexual affair partner- as did I- he has set up internet protection and asked me to put the password in, he is trying to be compassionate and supportive of me, he feels very excited about having been able to open up for the first time. He feels like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in an honest relationship.
This is what he says. I feel that it is true. But I am also still traumatised so not 100% confident about anything!

B. If you were to identify three issues relating to your partner's recovery that you would like to see changed, what would they be?
It has only been 10 days since it all came out, this is still really early days. So far, it feels lilke he is doing everything possible.
I travel for work in 10 days. This is his opportunity/trigger. I can't do anything about it but obviously it isn't ideal. But maybe it is good timing as it gives him the opportunity to see that he can do it.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:13 am 
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Exercise Ten
Return to your vision created in Stage One; Lesson Two. Select the three most important values that you need right now to help you stabilize your life.
B) For each, think about the meaning and fulfillment you are getting compared to the potential meaning and fulfillment available.

C) Develop a specific plan that will allow you to maximize the potential in each of those three values.

D) List the steps you will take in the next 24 hours to begin strengthening each value.


1. I am a committed mother. I make time to play, listen to and actively love my children.
I get so much meaning and fulfilment from my children and from being a mother. The life choices that I/we have made have maximised the meaning and fulfilment- working part time, being a child centred family. I also do feel, however, that I need to have marriage centred family time too right now and this is taking time from my children- doing this course, supporting and being supported through my husband's stories.
Plan: Continue to do painting, cooking, walks with the children.
Steps: Have a talk with my daughter and draw pictures about starting nursery tomorrow

2. I continue to be in a fulfilling career and to do the overseas travel that I need to do.
My work in women's and other people's rights is deeply fulfilling and extremely meaningful. It has been tarnished by the travel that I need to do becoming my husband's opportunity for extra marital sexual activities. This means that I feel afraid of going away. However, I cannot let this destroy this important part of my life. My husband's recovery is his issue, as you say. I can support him but I cannot stop living. When we met, I compromised dramatically with him on the amount of travel that I did. I do far less challenging work as a result. But I can accept that compromise even if it means that my work is less meaningful and fulfilling than it used to be. This is also about my children. With or without my husband I would need to do the limited travel that I do. I am also the primary income earner so I need to work.

Plan: I will not allow my husband's issues to dictate which work I do and do not take on. I will discuss and we will find the best solution for the family, as always, but I will not allow myself to be victimised by his Stuff or to live in fear of it happening. He either can or cannot stop it. If he can't then me being away will not be the defining factor.
Step: Talk to recruitment agent about proposed job in West Africa

3. I make time for myself: I go for a run regularly, bathing in my beautiful surroundings, physically working out the tricky energy that all this is causing.
This is something that I am very bad at doing. This course and experience is helping me to wake up to that. To take time for myself, particularly through running, an old love of mine. The meaning is that I will value myself. Myself, the woman. Not the mother, daughter, wife, career person, friend etc. Just me and my relationship with my body and with nature. This feels healthy and fulfilling.
Step: Go for a morning run again.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:17 am 
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Exercise Eleven
A. Write a letter to your partner, expressing all of the emotions that you have experienced as a result of their addiction. This is not intended to be a letter that he/she will read, but rather, a letter representing your most intense feelings.

My darling x
Wow. Where to start. 2 weeks since time stood still and tidal waves of information and emotion keep engulfing me. 2 weeks using all my own psychotherapy experience and training to try to surf the waves. Emotions?
Suspicion, this just doesn't feel right. Frustration at having to get information in a way that was worse than extracting teeth, the sinking feeling just getting deeper and deeper. Finding out on a public train. Chunks of information as we changed train, each one of the 6 times. New people sitting next to us, the next instalment of the story. Holding it together for the children. The relief when we got off the train and left you. My father, my solid father, waiting for us. Our son telling him 'Daddy isn't here. He has been naughty, he lied to Mummy so he is going for a sleepover'. Whisked in the dark to safety. My parents' home. Not able to tell them too much. Not knowing enough to make the decision about what to say. Sobbing to your sister at a station platform. Her voice: 'what an idiot' repeated over and over.
The next day. The list of 7 things. The cold fish slapping me again and again across the face. What to process first? Total confusion. Who is the person talking to me. I can see he is suffering but I have no idea who he has. In another moment, but this is the man who makes me so happy. Who constantly tells me how happy he is. With whom I have worked so hard, together, to work through his sexual issues. Having no idea that this was all there. And yet, it also isn't so surprising. The prostitute is surprising. To have so little thought for my health, for that of my breastfeeding baby, for our yet to be made daughter. Knowing the work that I do. Having talked so much about sexual exploitation together. Yet, he was one of them. An abuser of vulnerable women. How is this possible? Why didn't I see, what a fool I have been, what an idiot.
Pendulum of emotions. The man I know. The man I didn't know.
The man who I now see repressed me sexually. I had to be the madonna. The others could be the whores. yet he could have got all that he needed at home.
Emotions? Confusion, exhaustion currently, pain, anger. I am very angry with your bloody useless family. Very. So I need to back off from that. They are what they are. They created you: the wonderful you and the dark abusive you.
The hollowness inside. How easy to just drown in the river. A moment of delicious revenge.
The scream.
The fear for my daughter in the face of predators such as you. I know you only deal with adult but there are others like you who deal with children and others who will prey on her when she is a woman too.
My son. What model has he had. Mum's away, quick let's play.
Now. I am just tired, tired to the bone.
The shame of it all. Who can I tell? You have put me between a rock and a hard place. And it is a very very lonely place.


B. Upon completion of your personal letter, it will be your task to write one more. This one, a letter from your partner to you. In this letter, take some time to think about what it is you would say, "if you were them". How would you apologize? How would you offer reassurance? How would you explain the behavior?
The key to this exercise will be in your ability to write a letter that, if you were to read this from their own hand, would fill you with confidence that they understand the pain and confusion they have caused you.


I am so so so sorry. I know that nothing that I can say can take away the pain or the confusion. It must be horrendous. First I want to say that my time with you has been the happiest of my life. That is all true. What we have built over the years has been wonderful. I love you. You are ...(whatever he appreciates about me)
This pain and anguish that you are feeling will be worth it. I will get through this and I will then be able to 100 times the person that I was. You will be married to a grown up. Your children will have a father who has challenged his demons, who is humble, who is able to own up to his mistakes, to grow. To stop the cycle. To not be his father or his mother. To be able to offer physical affection and to receive it. To be able to love fully and healthily.
You will have a husband that does not push his mess onto you. Those niggly feelings that you had, those instincts, will be no more. Or when they are there, we will both listen to them, respect them and think through what they could be telling us. I will be honest with you when I feel tempted. Each little time. I will not allow it to escalate as it did.
I will hopefully be more respectful of women. This will enable us to have friendships with other couples, something that upon reflection has been an issue that maybe none of us realised. You had such a social life before me.
I will support you in your work and be honest about how I am coping when you go away.
I will respect your right to your health.
I hope to be more empathetic and compassionate. With you but also with others. The arrogance gone. A humble person.
All these changes were needed. We both pretended/ turned a blind eye. But I wasn't whole. You deserve a whole person, someone who is striving to be whole. With your support and love.
I will hold you in this pain. I have caused it. I have a responsibility to hold you, to be honest with you, to grow up.
I have no excuses. The mistakes are fully my own. And they come from somewhere and I will work with that somewhere. I will not be afraid and I will do what needs to be done.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:52 pm 
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Exercise Twelve
A. Describe where you are now in terms of your response to the discovery of your partner's addiction. Not where you were last month, or where you hope to be next month. Where are you right now?

Sitting on a giant pendulum that swings dramatically. One moment I am feeling horny and reclaiming my right to my own sexuality (much of which has been damaged over the years by my husband in various ways), the next I am looking at my husband with total utter disgust that he could put his penis into a prostitute's vagina with no thought whatsoever for my health, for my breastfeeding baby's health, for his own health, for our future child's health. Never mind the total utter disrespect for me as an individual who is an avid campaigner for women's rights and has worked with prostitutes and he has heard their stories from me. It makes his abuse of 'her' an additional thing to work through for me. Then I swing back to what a wonderful father he is, and the great nutritious meals that he cooks us and the therapeutic non sexual massages and other forms of love that he is giving me. I go in for a kiss and then get a flash of him wanking to his online mistress and I feel sick.

B. Because you have experienced a traumatic event in your life--and the discovery that the foundation of your life has been jeopardized is severely traumatic--there are common patterns that you should expect and even prepare for in the months and years to come. Discuss what these patterns might be and how you will deal with them. There are no right or wrong answers here. The goal is to begin looking ahead with a realistic and constructive eye. To realize that with even the best healing process in place, the trauma that you have experienced will have a lasting--albeit not permanently destructive--effect on your life.

-flashbacks in intimate moments
- flashbacks in non intimate moments
- feeling that I can't trust him as far as I can throw him
- dagger pains when I feel the experience
- pride in him that he is trying to do this
- serenity that we are doing well
- hatred that he is such an ar**hole [note, it feels good to swear. I dont often do that]
- shaky legs and arms as the adrenaline of realisation and shock comes in waves
- chattering teeth
- wanting to check up on him
- wanting to hurt him/remind him of what he did
- lack of desire/disgust for him and wanting to sleep with a normal man to remind myself of what healthy sex is all about.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:29 pm 
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Exercise 13
A. One of the first steps on the road to healing is to take inventory of all the ways that your partner's compulsive behavior has affected you. Begin listing these consequences and post them in your Healing Thread..

Affects to your physical self: 9
My husband repressed my sexual energy in many ways.
As affect that has come up since disclosure is that we have realised this.
I am therefore reclaiming my sexuality and enjoying that. I feel 6 years younger i.e. the age I was before we met
Currently his penis is a source of revulsion on occasion.
I wanted him to be tested for STDs. Where we live this isn't currently possible so we will need to wait 3 months before penetrative sex. This feels like a good thing. It means he has to discover my body and the benefits of foreplay without it all being about his orgasm.
--- coming back to this a day later, more things have come up. My physical energetic self is currently absent. I seem to have withdrawn emotionally. I don't see the man anymore, just the behaviour. Will I get over that. I really don't know.

Emotional 7
I imagine that this is going to keep changing. Still feel on a pendulum. But hopefully in the end it will all be better as he is going to be more stable to live with. Right now I am the one feeling unstable. The rug pulled from under my feet.


Social 9
I have many friends. He has very few. I fully understand why now. He hit on many of the female partners of the friends that he did have. Causing many male friends in his life to back off. I watch people be uncomfortable around him and now I understand that there were picking up on his behaviour subliminally or through him eying them up, so to speak.

He is now having to explore why his friendships are not as they could be. Hopefully, again, this will be good in the long term and we can have a social life.

However, I will be monitoring his behaviour with women. Maybe being too protective of other women that he has dealings with.

I will also have to watch not treating all men as if they are potential sex addicts.

Spiritual 5
I really don't know about this one. Personal development is part of our spiritual journey together so in theory this addiction and recovery from it is part of our spiritual development.

Economic 7
Taking time to do this course is taking both of us away from economic activities. We are both self employed and this course takes energy away from looking for and taking on work. I feel too exhausted to take on anything challenging right now. Which may have consequences for my career.

Interpersonal (him and I) 10
In some ways we are much closer now. In others, I am just waiting for the next revelation.
I also need some time to see how this goes to see if I can respect him as a human being. His recovery is in his hands so I just need to wait and see how that goes.

Our children 7
I am very aware of becoming very aware of my daughter (2) as a female. I hadn't really thought of her as a female really before. What this meant in terms of risks, of finding herself caught up with a man such as her father has been before she had the maturity to deal with it safely.

I am aware of how important physical contact is for small children. Husband didnt get it. But I have always been very physical with them. I don't see that changing.
I am also very aware not to project my stuff/ his stuff onto them. But am sure they pick up on things subliminally.
Think the learning from this will help us to protect them e.g. knowing the difference between loving contact, sensuality, sexuality and abuse.


B. Rate the affect of each consequence from a 1-10. "1" will represent the most significant consequence that your partner's addiction has had on your life. Do not worry bout which consequence might be a "6" and which might be a "7"; or which is "1" and which is "2"--what is important is to gain a general idea of the impact (or potential impact) they have had on your life.


I will need to come back to this... it will be in flux I imagine. The impact on my/our social life has surprised me.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:01 am 
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Exercise 14:
In Stage One; Lesson Two of the Partner's Workshop, you were asked to develop a general vision for your life. This vision focused on developing an anchor to health and stability by allowing you to identify and re-attach yourself to those areas of your life that you truly value. Now, you are asked to create a second vision. This one is more of a 'mini-vision', isolated to how you will manage your life over these next few months--through your healing (and your partner's recovery--if applicable).

To assist you in developing this limited, practical vision, here are a few questions to ask/answer. Think about the questions in normal type; answer the questions that are italicized in your healing thread.

*Over the next month, how much time do you intend to spend focused on managing, tracking and/or assessing your partner's addiction/recovery? List the role(s) you intend to play in his recovery. If none, say so. If some (and there are potential healthy roles for you to play), list them.
None in terms of managing. I do NOT want to play that game. With a 'functioning' alcoholic father, I have seen my mother be dragged down and blamed when she tries to manage, track or assess him. I am NOT going there. I know that it stops them taking it responsibility and worse than that it will damage me.
On the other hand, when I text comes in on his phone, my body just goes back into that moment of the discovery and I need him to tell me immediately whether it is a safe or unsafe message.
In terms of assessing, I suppose I will be asking him how the course is going, what he is learning, how he is feeling about it. As I would for anything that he is doing. I am interested in him, his opinions etc. That hasn't changed.

*How much time do you intend to spend secretly investigating his actions? If none, how will you manage those times of mistrust and/or doubt?
I won't do it secretly. I will tell him that I am feeling doubt and mistrust and that it is up to him and his recovery and my future with him whether he will tell me the truth or not.


*What personal values are you willing to allow your partner to continue damaging over the next month? If none, how will you protect these values?
Wow, I am not willing to allow him to damage any. But he is. With each new wave of revelation.
I am committed to honesty in a relationship (his no 1 wedding vow, which he broke pretty much immediately). I will remain honest. However, this is very hard as being honest hurts him. Of course. I don't want to hurt him. But I have noone else to talk to. This is stuff that I cannot tell anyone (and I HATE him for putting me into such a lonely, terrifying place)
I have no idea how to protect myself right now. I cannot trust anything. I am remembering things like 'I never dream of you, I don't know who you are, are you trying to poison me' all these instinctual things that were so spot on yet my real life was totally oblivious. Everyone thought he was the perfect husband.

*Over the next two months, what mistakes are you prepared to tolerate from your partner and why? What mistakes (if any) are intolerable and will serve as the catalyst to end the relationship? Note: think with your head here, not your heart. You are no longer ignorant as to what to expect in recovery and so, define those true 'bottom lines' for you and your relationship.

I feel totally trapped here. What I would tolerate if I didn't have children would be pretty much nothing. Right now I have lost sight of who he is. Not a good day to ask me what I would tolerate. It has all been too much, I am overwhelmed. The question is more, what can my sanity tolerate. I am holding onto it very precariously.
So, I don't know that I can answer this right now.

Porn, I will tolerate. If it happens once. Maybe.
Contact with 'her' I will not. Acting out on me, I will not.
The other stuff I will not. Some of the smaller I might.

*How much responsibility do you intend to invest in changing your partner? Versus placing the responsibility for change on them? How do you envision communicating your observations about their motivation/responsibility--both positive and/or negative? For those positive observations, how will you make them seem genuine? For those negative observations, how will you make them seem non-punitive?
He has responsibility. I am SO clear about that, if nothing else. I will not be dragged into his healing, been there too many times before. It really doesn't work.
Positive and negative observations; hard to answer. All this happened in total utter secret so I have no idea what I would be looking out for in terms of observations. I REALLY didnt see this coming.
Maybe I suppose it would be about not having any visions of him poisoning me/trying to kill me, feeling him solidify a bit more (rather than being a shadow that was hard to pin down), getting an on-going sense of his emotional state (something that is very hard to read until it is too late and he explodes)
negative observations would probably be withdrawal, anger, disappearing onto the computer, drinking.

I think that I will just communicate these honestly, as I always do. I know that he trusts that. Lack of honesty is not my flaw, I have many others but not that one.


*Do you intend to motivate change in your partner by threats and/or rewards? Or by simply sharing your needs and allowing your partner to find the motivation to meet those needs? If the latter, how much clarity do you have in determining and communicating your personal needs?

I thought that I could not motivate change in my partner? I know that I can superficially. But all this behaviour happened when he was happy and very in love with me and meeting my needs.
My main need is, and always has been, honesty. That is a fundamental part of his process so hopefully those needs will meet together and a positive way for us both.
My other need right now is not to be in his presence and he is finding that very hard.
Ironically, he is the one that really wanted me to clarify my personal needs as he really wanted to meet them. Making me i.e. his mother happy, was how he got some albeit limited emotional response. Whereas I am very enthusiastic so he got the response.

Children awake.... I need to go..... and be 'fine'

*How do you envision moving beyond two individuals in recovery/healing to becoming a team in overcoming those areas of your relationship that have been damaged? What changes will YOU need to make in your own perspective to regain a sense of teamwork? What changes do you need to see from your partner for this to happen?

Back now, a week later...

Again, this is tricky. My husband and I do make a great team, still do in terms of running a family, jobs, lives, cooking, cleaning etc.
But yes, I can see that we have become two individuals. Although he apparently has been that all along. I haven't though.
Now I am. I am seeking a lot of solitary time, away from him and others. And he see him as someone that I don't know. An individual therefore.
OK.
I suppose work on RN together makes us a team, hoping to do the couples workshop in the near future. It doesn't feel like right now is the right time though. Too soon.
I need husband to be open, communicating how he is doing, all of him, including the addict, which he is doing and doing well.
My perspective: I have mostly accepted that I am starting afresh in a new relationship. The old husband doesn't exist anymore. That is clear I suppose. I am not looking backwards but getting to know a new man. Any new relationship involves building trust. It feels healthy to me to see things that way.

But of course, at night, early morning, I get the accusing 'how could you' voice. But am finding space for compassion too...


*Apart from your partner's addiction, identify the current major obstacles that your relationship faces. For each obstacle, seek out any patterns that will eventually need to be worked through as a team. For instance, communication. We have fallen into a pattern of dysfunctional communication that must change. Here is what I can envision doing to bring about change to these dysfunctional communication rituals:

I honestly don't feel that our relationship faces obstacles other than the addiction. Naive?
We have done so much work in our years together, we really had worked on communication. Our one issue was about his sexuality. And we have made huge progress, maybe why the addiction is less of a trauma than it may have been. It makes sense, even if it is sometimes too outrageous to contemplate what this 'nice gentle' man has done to women.

*Should you find yourself struggling to manage your own life (intense emotions, undefended boundaries, deteriorating values, neglected values, etc.) how do you envision getting yourself refocused and back in balance? List this general plan.

*What signs will you look for in your partner to generate confidence in the sincerity and stability of his/her recovery?
Doing RN
Using his checklist
Telling me how his recovery is going.
Seeing him open up.
Watching whether he is able to make love to me, seeing that shift in our relationship...

*What unique signs will you look for in your partner over the next few months to generate warning of imbalance and/or insincerity?
Sex being as it used to be.
Him sneaking off
Not talking about RN
Not sharing how he is feeling about his recovery

These are just some of the questions that you will want to consider and prepare yourself for. There are potentially many others. List anything additional that you feel is important in preparing yourself to face this transition in your life/relationship over the next few months.

HIs family. This is a big one. They keep talking about us fixing our relationship, this being between us. I am like NO WAY. YOU take responsibility for your damage. Don't put this on me. I have known him for a tiny proportion of his life. I am NOT having that. yet, knowing we will still need to do Christmas, birthdays together etc. Someone I need to look them in the eye. I don't know how to 'pretend everything is fine' as they do. And I don't want to.


Last edited by sunshine74 on Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:09 pm 
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I am feeling angry, tired and resentful. Too angry to do the course right now. My life was totally full before this. How can I fit it all in? Sleepless nights, pretending all is fine, being a high powered professional responsible for getting senior humanitarian people to look at sexual and gender based violence issues ??!!??!! And not say, and by the way my 'husband' is part of that industry..., being a mother, daughter, daughter in law, sister in law. Just feels too too too much. And all because of something that I DID NOT DO. Why should I be paying for his bullshit. Anger is good I suppose. Better than the disconnection from myself that I felt in my last post, or before last post.
I just want a good night's sleep right now. And to scream very very very loudly. And to not have in-laws who are emotionally incompetent so I am spending more energy dealing with them and being let down by them than I should be.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:58 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:25 am
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Exercise Fifteen
A. Make a list all of support resources (people only) that you currently have available to you in helping you to deal with this current crisis? How many of these people have you already turned to for support? What have you found beneficial in their responses? What have you found to be disruptive?

Lauren, my best friend. Very helpful- totally non judgemental, listened, comforted, offered love, sympathy and compassion for husband.

Karuna chums. My psychotherapy training friends. Amazing, helpful, non judgemental.

But I am far away, so no one can give me a hug. That is what I need. Some real human warmth.

Family- can only give them very limited story so that is a difficult balance. Also don't want them to worry.
His sister and parents- totally disruptive, much energy wasted, waiting for love/ support that never came and is incapable of coming, yet I still wait...... Helps me understand him. Their total inability to give love, they are trying to say this is up to us to sort out, a marriage issue. I threw that back. He told them all. Nothing since.


B. List all resources (not people) that you have available to you in developing a balanced, healthy support system. This list should contain at least eight items. Put an asterisk in front of each resource that you are currently using to help you through this crisis.

Running * (although currently strong head cold so not using)
Cigarettes * (new thing to do)
RN *
My mountain *
Fresh air *
Work *
Reading
Music *


C. Discuss a time when you were a part of someone else's support system. Was it a positive or negative experience for you? What made it so? Is there anything that you would have done differently? How can you use these insights to further define your own support system?
I am often part of someone else's support system. I have a very strong network of friends and I invest in those friendships. It is very positive for me. What I have learned is to offer options of the support I can give and let the person choose. We all need support so differently. My way is very proactive, tactile and 'strong', others need more space, hands off.
Right now I need proactive, tactile and strong. What I am getting is more space, hands off. So that is helpful I suppose. I am not giving people the full story, except my online friendships, so how can they support? But I also need to protect him from them hating him I suppose. For harming me. I don't want them to judge him and hate him as the marriage will continue (I hope) and they need to be able to look him in the eye. But maybe that is my stuff? And I should trust them? When this happened, the first thing that I need read was 'be careful about who you tell about infidelity, others may be less forgiving than you'.

What does RN think?


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