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 Post subject: Cayo's Healing Thread
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:36 pm 
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I look back at the 29 years of my marriage and see things as "pre-Meadows" and "post-Meadows," the post-Meadows years (the last 10) being the happiest of my life. I was thrilled when we both got help 10 years ago and when my husband returned from Arizona the man I always knew he was, the man I fell in love with. I had no clue, for 10 years, that he had gone back, or maybe had never left. I had worked with every fiber dedicated to building my trust in him, supporting him, loving him purely and without reservations. He had become so skilled in lying and deception that he never slipped up, never faltered; he cared for me, he was generous, loving, said all the right things, did all the right things. This discovery was beyond devastating for me; it was nothing like the first time, the pre-Meadows time, when things had never been good between us and I was so lost and alone. Our relationship never felt right, never felt good, never fulfilled it's promises of intimacy, compassion, respect. So when the first break came, it was just a last straw in a long serious of straws, piled on top of each other in a dirty heap.

Not this time. I was happy, truly happy. Finally, I thought, we can have an open, light-filled life, we can be companions, lovers, supporters, friends. We can laugh, travel, explore, cook rich, soul-satisfying Indian, we can communicate, we can open up to each other, we can plan for the future together, we can BE with each other, just the two of us. All I ever wanted.

Nothing is left of that life, my life. He took it all away. He destroyed it in a moment. My trust, my generosity, my openness, my sense of myself with the man I love. All I have is what he replaced it with; I'm living HIS life these last weeks since discovery. The objectifying, disengaged sex; the betrayal of everything I valued and thought HE valued; the lies that came so easily, so effortlessly; the emptiness, a black hole that swallows any light, any goodness, any sincerity. The tapes, HIS tapes, play without end, through my thoughts during the day into the night, into my dreams, my nightmares, my panic attacks that wake me (when exhaustion does finally allow me to sleep). I notice the women he would want, he would stalk like wounded deer; I know where all the strip clubs and massage parlors are; the computer is an accomplice, withholding, hiding the truth from me, refusing to allow me in. The world is ugly. Uncaring. Threatening. What happened to everything I ever loved?

I measure my days and nights by blocks of time secured or not by an alibi; all the women I know about and all of those I don't haunt me, laughing and uncaring, I don't exist to them, they only see my husband and how wonderful he is, so much fun at the swinger parties he was so good at organizing. "Can't wait for the next one" they call out during the night, but not to me. To them, I don't exist. I don't exist to my husband either. I know now I never will.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:53 pm 
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Exercise Two - Personal Vision

I am a caring, responsible woman who will not let anyone crush my loving spirit. I am willing to share my life with someone who respects me and values me. I am honest in my emotions and eager to communicate my deepest feelings to those I love. I am happy and want to live my life in joy and light. I have much to give to my family, my friends, and to those who treat me with openness and goodwill. My life after this will be built on trust, love, honesty, sensitivity and laughter. My value lies in my core goodness and my deep belief that the world can be a safe and fulfilling place if I continue to commit myself to nurturing my inner strengths and boundaries while remaining open to people who respect and care for me in return.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:32 am 
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Welcome to Recovery Nation, Cayo.

The pain in your post is so fresh and real that I can feel it from here, and I am so sorry that you are suffering so deeply. But it is a good sign that you are looking for ways to help yourself in this situation by learning more about SA and reaching out to this community. I hope you will find it helpful. Please continue posting your lessons here, and myself or one of the other Coaches or Mentors will check in from time to time. Do make use of the Community Forum as well for any questions you may have.

Quote:
I measure my days and nights by blocks of time secured or not by an alibi;
Quote:
All I have is what he replaced it with; I'm living HIS life these last weeks since discovery.


Checking up on our untrustworthy partners is part of wanting to protect ourselves, but unfortunately, this kind of monitoring can sometimes turn into an obsessive activity that re-traumatizes us and prevents us getting on with our own lives. One thing to think about is to examine your own motivations for monitoring. If you already know he has a problem with SA behavior, what purpose does finding more instances serve?

Quote:
all the women I know about and all of those I don't haunt me,


This is a very natural response to the traumatic experience you have undergone. What you are experiencing is something similar to the effect of post-traumatic stress, and can be one of the most difficult things to address in your own healing. Hopefully, as you move through the exercises, you will learn strategies to stop the 'mind-movies' of all that has happened.

Quote:
He took it all away. He destroyed it in a moment. My trust, my generosity, my openness


I can tell from your words, from the eloquent way in which you write, that although it may feel like this, it is not true. Because you also wrote:

Quote:
I am a caring, responsible woman who will not let anyone crush my loving spirit.


And that comes through loud and clear. Your sense of self has suffered a severe blow, and it will take time to rediscover the amazing and unique person you know you are deep down, and to reconnect to the trust, generosity and openness that are valuable to you. Perhaps you could add 'generosity' and 'openness' to your 'Personal Vision' in a more explicit way? You have made a good start on your Vision, and it communicates the kind of person you are at your core. A bit more specific detail will help expand this Vision so it can be a guide to you through this process.

Revisit exercise 2 and try expanding it with thinking of concrete actions you can take. Think about ways that you can make this Vision resemble the life you are living. Ask yourself: What sorts of things can you do to 'commit myself to nurturing my inner strengths'? What can you do to take care of this value, each week? Each day? Think of examples which are concrete and measurable. So, for instance, you identify 'laughter' as an important value. How can you let more laughter into your life? Watching a comedy film? Phoning a friend who always makes you laugh? Making someone else laugh? Your Vision is something you can return to and refine, and it will help to guide you through your healing. As you move through the Workshop, you can look back on this to see if you are doing the actions to sustain your value. Your values have been eroded by the trauma you have experienced, but they are still inside you, and they just need a little nurturing in order to flower again.

I wish you all the best on your healing journey.
FMT :g:


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:27 pm 
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Refocus--Personal Vision
As I have gotten some distance from those devastating days of June, and I've come out of the crazed intensity of my need to confront him, I have refocused my life, if not totally on me, then at least to where my needs are in my peripheral vision-something new to me. I can see that I need laughter in my life and that I can bring people into my life who give this gift to me, either through their abilities or through mine. This I will do every day. I also miss being in touch with the spiritual. I am capable of providing spiritual experiences that can comfort and heal my soul through time spent at the beach. This I will do at least one day each week. Yoga and meditation give me energy, stillness, flexibility, and strength. I will continue my practice at least one day each week and will try to do it more than that.

After my intensive EMDR sessions last week, the friends that I have here came to me--in person, by phone, and by internet--to check on me, to learn my experiences, and to encourage me to continue taking care of myself. It was that revelation of themselves, at their most caring, most supportive, most loving selves that gave me the sustenance I needed after such an exhausting week/month. I will be there for them, as well. I will give back in like kind. I will gather them around me, close to me, and feed them, literally and figuratively, from my bountiful table. I will do this as often as I can. I will call, I will email, I will keep the lines of communication and support open so that any one of us will know the others are there for her if needed. I have a weekly chat day with my friend online. This week, another friend and I are having an excursion for the day. Another will come three days a week to swim together. Each week, I will be generous with my time and myself, my home, my love.

Most importantly, I am dedicating myself to healing through my work on Recovery Nation. I embrace the challenges I face by working diligently, honestly, and openly, no matter how painful it may be, so that I can be the person I know I can be again.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:59 pm
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Hi Cayo,

I don't know if you've seen this on the Community Forum, but I thought I'd flag it up for you. Coach Mel has posted some excellent guidance for building your Vision. Take a look:

http://www.recoverynation.com/partnersb ... 22&t=18712

FMT


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:55 pm 
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My husband is not an athletic person. He doesn't enjoy being outdoors and was never interested in exercise. But he did have one "tell." Each time he became obsessed with someone new, he suddenly decided that he really needed to lose weight, get rid of the gut, get into shape. This dedication to a fit body was such a contrast to his normally lethargic self that it almost didn't take a gut reaction from me to know something was up.

My gut's working overtime tonight. I'm housesitting a friend's house. We watched a movie here and as he left to go back to our house, I asked which way he was going home (he usually drives right by the spa where the girl works that he had his latest affair with). My gut kicked in when he responded "I'm going straight home." Well, that's not an answer to my question now, is it.

After 29 years, I know all the patterns and being a codependent, I'm well-tuned to his mood, countenance, word-usage, etc. Over the last ten years, since the first Meadows treatment, I've let my guard down AND I think he learned a lot. He must have to be able to continue taking care of my needs while escalating his acting out without me suspecting a thing.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:37 pm 
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Hi Cayo,

In order to keep your lessons together, please post them all in the healing thread you've already started here:

http://www.recoverynation.com/partnersb ... 21&t=18601

Just hit the 'Post reply' button at the bottom of your thread to add your responses.

FMT :w:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:49 pm 
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Lesson 7--My role in my husband's recovery
Well, it's early (4-5 months maybe, not sure), but I have had a role so far. As far as communication, I think that our work together on the Couples' workshop has been positive as has the 5-day workshop at The Meadows that we participated in. We both learned the "List Item" method of bringing up difficult issues and if I were faithful to it, I know we'd be more successful. I'm still carrying a lot of anger and pain and a lot of that tends to tear through the veil of calm I can generally wear. I'm not to the point yet of being able to get past my role of "wounded one," and although I'm well aware of that roadblock, I'm not sure I can overcome it until I go through a "Survivors" workshop at The Meadows this spring.

I'm more than willing to listen to him, though, and I regret that he (appears) to still feel too much guilt and shame (and perhaps fear) to tell me about any negative thoughts he may be having. I gave him a list item just yesterday related to this issue--specifically, that he has not told me of any urges or triggers he's been dealing with since the disclosure--and he told me there weren't any. A response such as that doesn't foster trust.

As for managing his recovery, I would have to say that I feel I've been much too involved in trying to do that. I told him about RN from the beginning (4-5 months ago), and he's just recently started the workshop. When I talk to him about his recovery efforts, I try to do it from the standpoint of how he's responding to my non-negotiables, hoping that that keeps me from crossing over the boundary of his responsibilities; but it has been difficult for me to stay out of it and I'm sure he feels like I haven't done that. One of my non-negs. was for him to get a sponsor but what I (we) didn't realize at the time was that "sponsors" are from the 12-step arena and we're non-12-steppers. He's started participating in an on-line agnostic group and we're hoping that someone (a type of mentor) will come from that.

I haven't been a very good role model for empowering him, what with my pain and anger still intact. I've tried to encourage him with words but I'm sure I haven't said enough or done enough to show just how proud I am of his work so far. I'm struggling with controlling/overcoming my fears and wanting to express my feelings, which always seems to send him back into his shame. I want him to feel safe enough to share more with me but I think he feels too much fear for that because of the feelings that come up. When I ask questions about his SA state today, he becomes defensive asking me if I really want to "go back there." It's a stressful situation for us both.

Questions B and C both have the same answer: I can't rely on anyone but myself to attend to my healing. No one can take care of me but me. Any actions taken, any changes to be made, have to come from me and that's what I'm working on.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:16 pm 
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Lesson 9 - Signs
A.
I think the most hopeful sign that my husband is in a healthy recovery has been his consistent attention to his in-person group attendance and involvement in the online group sessions. I think it's also been very positive that he appears to be dedicated to our couples' work by participating with me in the RN site or reading various books on SA/communication/boundaries, etc., or reading from other online sources every day.

B./C.
I'm combining these because they're related.

Most of the time, I'm feeling positive enough with myself to be able to praise him for his work and dedication. That's certainly not always the case, though, and when I do fall into a hole that starts me ruminating on something, I bring it up. The most troublesome behavior that I see him exhibiting is when I bring up anything regarding his past activities and he becomes defensive (and has, on some occasions, engaged in some blame-shifting). He usually goes into a guilt/shame funk that tends to shut down communication between us. He's told me that I can ask about anything I need to ask about but has also said several times that he "doesn't want to go back there," or "there's no reason to re-live that time," which I take as a virtual wall that stops all communication between us: I feel hurt and rejected and he becomes defensive and withdraws.

Rationally, I read his behavior as indicative of not being far enough along in recovery to have detached from the "addict" identity and have his "shadows in front of him," not behind him, still driving him as a former therapist described it. But emotionally, I'm still fearful that his response is because he wants to protect his secret world.

One other disturbing thing that I think is relevant is that he has not made a slip/relapse plan although I've said several times that this would be very important for both of us. The last time, he actually said he would "write that out for me right now," but that's been about a week ago and he hasn't done it. Another indication would be in relation to one of my non-negotiables, but I've addressed that already in another post and won't go into it again here.

Overall, my fear is that he is reactive more than proactive and at this point, without any new changes in his behavior, he's becoming settled into a routine and somewhat complacent about his work.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:05 pm 
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Stage Two, Lesson One - Values again

The most important values to me right now:
the spiritual connection to nature that I feel when I'm at the beach
the importance of a healthy life through veganism, meditation and yoga
the connection to others who care about me

I'm actively searching for a sailboat to buy now and my plan is to be sailing by the spring. I know I need this and that this need cannot be denied--I am a water baby and without the connection I have to the ocean I can easily whither and blow away. I have been going to the beach once each week and sometimes I have the opportunity to go twice. I'll certainly continue this.

My veganism is not a passing fad but something I have dedicated myself to. I have not been able to establish the habit of meditation -- yet -- but I will pursue it in earnest. There is a yoga center opening down the street from my house and I will be visiting it to get more information and then to attend classes.

I continue to email and Skype my friends and family on a regular basis.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:13 pm 
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Stage Two - Lesson Two Traumatic Discovery

The pain that comes from expressing "all the emotions that you have experienced as a result of their addiction" is twofold: what pain the addiction has caused and what pain my complicity has caused (I'm using complicity to mean something other than what is normally meant by co-addict, an offensive term that I've always rejected, along with victim, by the way). In these lessons, I always return to the time ten years ago when the first discovery occurred.

To my h:
You remember that I had gone through a few years of therapy and felt stable enough to leave ("I love you but I can't live with you."). You were shocked into the realization that you needed help and went to the Meadows (Meadows I). After you returned, I saw a different man; I saw the man I had fallen in love with 18 years before. If I had progressed far enough in my work, I would have known that my meager therapy/group work was not enough to prepare me for a return to the relationship with you at that time despite what I interpreted as "a new man" standing before me, professing your love, your loyalty, your regret, your promise never to treat me like that again.

I thought I was doing the right thing by quickly (within 3 or 4 months) trusting you again, completely and openly. I wanted to show you that I supported you and that I was there for you. And this I did for the next ten years. Until February 2011.

It's difficult to put into words the depth of betrayal that I felt when I found the letter you had written to her. What would they be? Crushed? Beyond that. Destroyed? Well, yes, but, see, that's too much. No healthy, balanced woman would have been destroyed by that. A woman of solid self-esteem would not have fallen into a black pit of despair, feeling worthless, less than a person, giving up (at times) on life.

I never saw it coming. I had been happy with our life. I wasn't prepared for anything-anything-to happen. A sane woman would have been secure in her own skin, her own life, living life on her own terms and rock solid in her values and convictions. What would have moved someone like that? Not this. She certainly wouldn't have felt defeated by someone like you, a mere man who had out-smarted her, taken advantage of her trust--her blind trust, in this case--to do everything he wanted to do. After Meadows I, I didn't think about the possibility of anything happening like that again. I was blindsided (because of my own blindness), manipulated (because of my malleability), crushed underfoot (because I had no substance), and, yes, destroyed (because I chose to give up everything I believed in to support you).

The anger came later (and is still an issue): after Meadows II, partial disclosure, and the weight and blackness of time spent without sleep. It's an anger bordering on rage, full of my feelings of helplessness and accompanied by the unpredictability and intensity of the triggers.

The "dis-ease" is progressive so the acting-out had progressed since 2000. The things you had done shamed and disgusted me (and you know I'm no prude); they troubled me because I suspected they had gone even farther than you admitted. But at the same time, I felt I had been abandoned (again) so you could live a fun, exciting, thrilling life (well, I was irrational much of the time!); and besides, I understood that no one would want to be with me, ever. You had it all and I had nothing. I was nothing. Of course. Who could love me? But did I deserve an STD?

And the lies? How, how, how could you tell the truth about absolutely everything in your life and still live a completely separate life that was absolutely all lies and deceit? I was supportive, I was loving, I was available. You took advantage of me, manipulated me, lied to me. You betrayed my love. You betrayed me. I may have been complicit, but I didn't deserve that.

And now? Where is the trust? I don't have any. I'm angry at you for taking my trust. I deserve a life free from fear, free from anger, free from the burden of suspicion darkening our relationship. I should be loved by someone who can respect me because I deserve it. Do you see me that way? I really don't know. I only know that I see me that way, and for that, I'm grateful.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:22 pm 
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STAGE TWO - Lesson Two: Traumatic Discovery (Letter from H.)
To my love,
And I do mean “my love;” I have been with you, shared with you and yes, loved you half of my lifetime. You have been the one person in my life who has known me better than anyone and in some ways, better than myself. There have been difficult times, moving, changing jobs, changing houses, all the stresses that come with any marriage. And all the stresses that come with living with my addiction. But you stayed with me, supported me in my work and my composing, and given me the stability and normalcy that I desperately needed and couldn’t give to myself much less to you. I’ve always said that you have been the only person in my life who truly loved me; I believe that’s true. It’s only one of the reasons that makes writing this letter to you so difficult.
How could I ever find the words to describe how I feel now, finally realizing just how much I’ve hurt you? Words are problematic I know. I’ve used them to keep my secrets and because of that I’ve destroyed your trust in me. But I’m begging you to listen with your heart because these words are coming from mine.
I could say that I want to take all of your pain away and carry it on my shoulders. I could say that I will dedicate the rest of our lives together—if there is such a future—trying to make up for all that I have done. I could say that I have never known anyone who has given me the love, devotion and trust that you have willingly given to me and that I have treated with such callous disregard and so desperately want you to feel for me again. Are those words enough? I know they’re not.
I have tried to explain how guilty and full of shame I’ve felt at the way I’ve treated you but whatever words I’ve used have not and will never express the true depth of my remorse. When I came back from Houston in June and you said to me that I was so like my father, I was devastated because I knew in that moment just how true that was: I had treated you just the way he had treated Mom, and I almost couldn’t bear that thought. You and only you would know how I felt in that moment. But even knowing that, is it enough? No.
I have no right to ask for your forgiveness but I’m going to ask it because I need to know that you can feel forgiveness for me. Maybe it will take the remainder of our life together for you to feel that, I don’t know. Please understand that it’s not to make me feel better about what I’ve done. It’s that I can know that you see something in me worth forgiving.
There’s a building in downtown Houston that you always liked. It’s the tall one on the west side of town that you can see as you drive down 45, with blue reflective glass windows and a top part made of gray granite. It was constructed as though the beautiful, bright, shiny exterior is concealing a dark, rough interior that can’t really be hidden, a core of ugliness that can’t be denied. You always said that it reminded you of the notion that we humans have of civilization: "civilization" is just a facade over our real, brutish, uncivilized selves that we'll always be.
I want to ask you to think of me as a reverse form of that building: that I have been living a dark, ugly, uncivilized life as a shell hiding the real me. That what people have thought of as “me” has been the lie and that who I really am is the bright, beautiful, loving human who has always been there at the core, unable to break free. You have been the only person who saw the real me from the beginning and for that I love you more than words could say.
I’m working hard to break free—completely and totally and forever. There’s nothing that I can say that could ever change the reality that I have been the cause of such pain in your life. But if you’ll stay at my side, I can make our future together the life you always dreamed of.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:26 pm 
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STAGE TWO – Lesson Three: The Traumatic Response
A description of where I am now (January 2012).
I generally feel content when we’re together. I’m happy going through our daily lives together and I find contentment sharing in even the smallest moments (such as being with our cats or having breakfast on the patio). There are fleeting moments that I experience what can only be euphoria (I think) at the thought of having a life together without SA. These are infrequent, yet they have a profound impact on my mood that lasts quite a long time afterward. I’m very grateful for those moments because I’ve never felt anything like that at any time in my life before now.
I have lingering questions about our sexual activities (if he’s thinking about the other women he’s had and comparing me to them; why he needs to know a day or more in advance if we’re going to have a “date,” that is, is that part of a ritual; could he ever really be happy with only me; etc.). He’s answered these questions but I still think about them. If I can get out of my head, then the sexual experience itself is immeasurably satisfying. There is a huge difference (well, there’s really no comparison, is there?) between how he used to treat me sexually and now. I feel his “presence” with me intensely; he’s responsive, generous, sensitive, intimate, and seems genuinely excited to be with me.
The greatest challenge I think we face regarding sex is my reluctance to be “generous” with him. He would like to have sex more often and would love to have more instances of non-intercourse acts in between our “dates.” This, of course, was a HUGE issue before and I’ll admit that I held back from sex because I felt used and objectified. I would like to have sex more often than once a week (before we were together I always considered myself a very naturally sexual woman), and just the thought of us being able to have intimate moments together is extremely exciting and satisfying.
His desire to have more non-intercourse interactions is still difficult for me to oblige. I have an aversion to one-sided hand jobs because of a lingering feeling of “servicing” him. It’s too much like what he was getting from the massage parlors and hookers and seems to me too disconnected from me. I feel secure that, in time, when I’m feeling more trusting of him, I’ll be able to give more.
When we are apart, I tend to think continuously about what he could be doing. He tells me what he will be doing before he/we leave the house, and he calls me when he leaves one location and tells me where he’ll be going next. He also collects receipts from wherever he goes and gives them to me when he gets home. I like to talk to him on the phone and I like to know what he’s doing and people he’s talked to (I’ve always liked that connection we’ve had outside of the SA stuff), but I’m well aware (as he is) that all of this means nothing as far as making him more accountable for his time/activities. It doesn’t prove anything that happens in between the phone calls and printed receipts. There are tons of opportunities for him to act out and we both know that. There’s really no answer for proving his trustworthiness, even at home. He had ample opportunity to engage in online crap—and did so—even as I was sitting six feet away, and he could still be doing it now.
And that’s what I think about much of the time.
I also struggle with concerns of complacency regarding our RN work (on both of our parts). And I fear that I will be “giving in” to trusting him much too soon. (Ten years ago, I very quickly returned to trusting him fully and lived to regret it.)
Another concern I have is his state of mind and how he appears to be having no struggles with slips/urges/thoughts of acting out. When I’ve asked him if he’s having such issues, he’s said (on more than one occasion): “No, not really. Not at all.” Could this be possible? That after 50 years of SA he suddenly woke up one day a different person? Don’t think so. But . . . my incredulity only agitates him so I’ve had to try not to ask about it. I’ve tried to explain that, at this point, it’s not the fact that he would be having such struggles that concerns me; what's important to me is that he shares those thoughts with me, openly and with his vulnerability showing.
That’s a big one for me right now.
I still carry with me the feeling that, at any moment, some indication, some evidence will rear up that proves that he’s still doing something and when that happen, I’ll be dropped unceremoniously back into that dark hole of despair that I lived in for so many months last year. I’m very fearful of that happening. I do have trust in RN to help me through the healing process so I won’t be carrying that terrifying burden around with me for the rest of my life with him.
Overall, I’m generally hopeful, not just about us but about my life, and despite a tendency to fall into a hole of fear, anxiety and depression now and then, I look forward to continuing our work together and improving our relationship for a fuller, more intimate and satisfying future.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:13 am 
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Quote:
I think that the "love" that he has shown me over the eleven years since Meadows I--while it may have emanated from a damaged, immature, self-serving persona--will continue to evolve throughout his recovery.
This is a very positive outlook.

Quote:
I'm not to the point yet of being able to get past my role of "wounded one," and although I'm well aware of that roadblock, I'm not sure I can overcome it until I go through a "Survivors" workshop at The Meadows this spring.
That is okay. You will know when you are ready. You are already mentally preparing yourself for this workshop, but I caution that you do not become attached to the outcome. If you are still not able to let go of being “the wounded one” you will want to be able to accept that and know that it will come in time, as long as you are continuing your journey and working on those obstacles that stand in your way of finding this peace.

Quote:
One of my non-negs. was for him to get a sponsor but what I (we) didn't realize at the time was that "sponsors" are from the 12-step arena and we're non-12-steppers. He's started participating in an on-line agnostic group and we're hoping that someone (a type of mentor) will come from that.
Good. Because while a “sponsor” is a 12 step thing, the principal of having a support system is the real point. In health based recovery, a support system is an integral part of the process (for partner’s and recoverer’s alike).

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I haven't been a very good role model for empowering him, what with my pain and anger still intact. I've tried to encourage him with words but I'm sure I haven't said enough or done enough to show just how proud I am of his work so far. I'm struggling with controlling/overcoming my fears and wanting to express my feelings, which always seems to send him back into his shame. I want him to feel safe enough to share more with me but I think he feels too much fear for that because of the feelings that come up. When I ask questions about his SA state today, he becomes defensive asking me if I really want to "go back there." It's a stressful situation for us both.
What I suggest is to ease off of pressuring yourself in this area. What you resist, persists. So, the more you try to not react, the more likely you will be to react. Better to work on generating awareness for those triggers that fuel your reactivity, and work on rendering them powerless. The first part of this is to notice your emotions as they come up. Notice how they feel in your body. Notice the cognitions that you have that seem to occur simultaneously with these bodily manifestations. Pay attention to yourself and journal your insights. Next, you take the (often faulty) thoughts and rewrite them such that they are more realistic. For instance, when he says something like “I don’t want to go back there”. Naturally, you feel hurt and rejected, and a thought that could accompany this might be something like “I am not worth the effort”. But, the reality is that you are worth it. His unwillingness to “go back there” is about him, not you. A correct thought statement would be “I am worth it, but he simply lacks the emotional maturity to deal with this right now”. Then, you get to decide what your boundaries are for that. How long are you willing to but your need (if this is a need for you) on the back burner, to wait and see and give him to “grow up” such that he can have these kinds of conversations with maturity.

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But emotionally, I'm still fearful that his response is because he wants to protect his secret world. Overall, my fear is that he is reactive more than proactive and at this point, without any new changes in his behavior, he's becoming settled into a routine and somewhat complacent about his work.
What is the scariest about him wanting to protect his secret world? What would that mean to you if he is being reactive vs. proactive?

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I’ll be dropped unceremoniously back into that dark hole of despair that I lived in for so many months last year. I’m very fearful of that happening. I do have trust in RN to help me through the healing process so I won’t be carrying that terrifying burden around with me for the rest of my life with him.
Good to hear.

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:34 pm
Posts: 34
Thank you, CoachMel, for your insightful--and calming--response. The journaling activity struck a nerve--I'm not doing that but I can see where writing down the triggers and re-writing my responses would be very helpful.

I greatly appreciate your time and thoughtful input.


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