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#408527 - 08/31/12 08:30 AM a little crazy plea for advice
dlh61 Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 6
How do I stop the sickening, compulsive need to check the phone, check that he is where he says he is? We are so new in the healing process and the disclosure of infidelity I am nowhere near trust.
I know this is my trigger; what has happened echoes my childhood issues of being told my perceptions were wrong and I was crazy to believe them (I knew in my whole being something was going on but he kept saying no..) Dealing with this issue long ago in therapy is a hell of a lot easier than in real life..
I want to ask him every day (oh, god, sometimes more than once..) if she has contacted him, and if she has, did he respond, what was said.. did he delete his response...BUT then I feel shaky and nauseous if I give in and ask or look at the phone..despite that, if I do, it makes me want to do it again..
And then today, on the news, another local allegation of abuse while we drank our coffee, and my heart cries for the hurt...
How do I balance his hurt and mine?

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#408539 - 08/31/12 12:09 PM Re: a little crazy plea for advice [Re: dlh61]
lostpartner32 Offline


Registered: 06/18/12
Posts: 16
Loc: southeast
I feel.your pain dlh61. We are new to this healing process also and I have just recently stopped checkking his phone everyday. My husband had an almost affair. It never went past talking, but hurt just the same. He now has parental locks on his phone so that he cannot find anyone on craigslist or sign up for a new email address. I still check occasionally, but I had to stop myself from checking several times a day, it was making me crazy. Therapy has helped me tremendously, as I too already Had my own issues the first few weeks are the worst. Good luck to you.

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#408561 - 08/31/12 04:44 PM Re: a little crazy plea for advice [Re: dlh61]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
Hi dlh61,

I want to echo lostpartner32 and say, therapy, therapy, therapy. And I feel for you. I know how tough the situation is for you and your partner/husband.

I want to give you a little context, in terms of what your partner might be thinking and feeling. I assume that he was sexually abused at some point in his life.

But wait, before I get into that, I want to take a step back even further to talk about abuse and perception, and shared and personal history.

When I was a kid (several years before puberty), the babysitter of a friend of mine, using my friend to cajole me along, raped and molested me over the period of some weeks or a month or two. I'm not sure exactly how long. I'm not sure how I did it, but I kept it from my parents. I think I was mortally embarrassed and ashamed. But mostly I was confused and hurt. The abuse was weird. These were experiences for which I had no words, no language, no context. It wasn't even sexual for me. I honestly didn't know what semen was. I thought it was pee. And while I was told that what we were doing was "fun," it wasn't fun to me. That was really the way I understood things.

So what happened? In my grade school mind, I didn't know how to get out of the friendship and away from the molester. My therapist and I discussed all this stuff for ages and ages. It turns out that, when some other kids picked on my friend and he turned to me for help, I pretended that I didn't know him. Later, he was furious at me. I apologized, I think, at the time. But now I understand that the only way I could get away from him was to make him get away from me. So I betrayed him when I could. And that's how I saved myself from more abuse.

And then the strangest thing happened. I kept my secrets, but they started to affect me in different ways. I got seriously depressed. I thought constantly about death and suicide. I started to act out, although I didn't know why. I broke windows. I actually suffered auditory hallucinations. Here's how I know. I said, "What a beautiful morning!" to an elderly woman as my family crossed a parking lot on the way to church one Sunday morning. The woman said to me, "Not for you it isn't." I was shocked. "Did you hear that?" I asked. My parents were surprised. I told them what I heard. No one had heard her say that. They heard her say something like, Thanks. Have a wonderful day.

I only recently learned that hallucinations like that aren't terribly unusual after someone suffers a trauma like I did. But I didn't even know that what had happened to me was called "trauma."

In junior high, I masturbated all the time. I guess that's normal. But for me, it was an exercise that was filled with self-loathing and reproach. I thought I was disgusting and perverted. I enjoyed it. It felt good, in some respects. But it was also painful as hell. And all along, I knew that what had happened to me back when I was in grade school had been wrong, had been sick, had been perverted and disgusting. And I blamed myself. I read once that early sexual experiences like sex abuse or even exposure to pornography had long-term and lasting impacts on the sexuality. I read that victims of sexual abuse become sexual abusers. I was terrified of becoming an offender. But I also felt like there was nothing I could do. I felt like I was on a runaway train. The damage had been done. I thought that I should kill myself to save others from what I would become, especially because I would swear to myself that I wouldn't masturbate... and then I would.... I became obsessed with pornography. And hated myself for it. I was completely captivated by things and people that crossed sexual boundaries, but was also repelled by them. And always I identified with the women in porn. I would think about what things were like from their point of view. I'd think that it was obvious that they were faking the pleasure. I'd think that, while the guy was getting his dick sucked, she probably felt like she had a stick of wood in her mouth. (Because that's what it felt like for me.)

As I became an adult, grew to six feet four and athletic, as I became increasingly "normal" or "acceptable" in the eyes of the world, I felt an increasing distance between why others perceived of me and what I knew about myself.

So I kept my distance from people. Not physically. But emotionally. I had lots of girlfriends. I could literally fuck one girl after another, and I would sometimes. Like fuck one girl. Go hang out with another girl. Fuck her. Go hang out with another. Fuck her. And I'd feel terrible. Each instance offered a moment of pleasure. But there was no real intimacy. There was superficial affection. But I was in incredible pain inside. I was a sad, sad person. And before long, the women I'd been fucking learned about each other. And, man, did they hate me. So when I vowed to be true to the woman who became my wife, I knew that I would keep my vow at all costs. And I did, for about 15 years.

I have never been good at being intimate. That's probably why I can be so expressive here. Nobody knows who I am. It's safe for me. I've been in therapy for years, and I can write about this stuff now. But it's very hard for me to do this sort of thing in person.

Anyway, my lack of intimacy started to cause problems at home. I was on and off depressed. My wife, I'm glad to say (and this is one reason I was so attracted to her), doesn't give much leeway for depression or whatever. So if I was depressed, she'd say, "Deal with it." She simply demanded that I get up off my ass. And that worked, as far as it went. But she couldn't teach me a vocabulary that I didn't know. How could she? She didn't know them herself! We were just a couple of young people growing older with kids and all the stresses and pleasures of modern life!

(I'm sorry, but I have to run. I want to finish what I'm saying to you. But I need to go. Good luck. I'll continue this before long, when I can.)

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#408574 - 08/31/12 07:19 PM Re: a little crazy plea for advice [Re: dlh61]
OurLastChance Offline


Registered: 05/02/11
Posts: 32
Loc: USA
Robert,
I'd like to hear the rest of your story too. Reading about your feelings and the history of what makes you a survivor today is truly helping me with the difficulties I am having with my husband.
OLC

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#408577 - 08/31/12 07:39 PM Re: a little crazy plea for advice [Re: dlh61]
OurLastChance Offline


Registered: 05/02/11
Posts: 32
Loc: USA
DLH61,
Your constant checking the phones can be subdued by writing down your boundaries. Give a copy of those boundaries to your husband and tell him it's what you need in order to stay in the marriage. You cannot control how he decides to go forward once the infidelity has been exposed, but you can let him know what will happen should he step past those boundaries.
I point blank told my husband that I chose not to place a voice activated recorder in his car nor to bug his laptop. Our marriage was now based on his honesty and determination to save it himself.
Sometimes unfortunately it's your gut that may be the telltail sign something is wrong. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling something wasn't right. I went into the kitchen to look at his work phone and found e-mails back and forth to his affair partner that had been sent to the trash bin as each was received/sent.
He made the choice to end the marriage with those actions of crossing the boundaries I set.
A constant checking his phone hourly will only push him to devise other methods to go about his business. The first time I caught mine in his affair almost 2 years ago, he was using a prepaid cell phone she had bought for him. Funny thing though, he couldn't figure out how to send texts on it so he continued to use the personal phone for those and just delete them.
I've been there but that doesn't mean your's will end the same way. I'm rooting for you.
OLC

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#408591 - 08/31/12 10:36 PM Re: a little crazy plea for advice [Re: dlh61]
dlh61 Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 6
The ability you all demonstrate to show compassion and support while dealing with your own pain and healing moves me to tears & is a wake- up call as well.
I have to get out of the mire I am stuck in.
I've known I have no control over most things in life for a long time- that had always felt freeing to me in the past; remembering that in this situation is something I plan to work on diligently. It's not going to be easy, I know.
I offer my gratitude and prayers and wish grace for all of you .

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#408768 - 09/03/12 09:43 AM Re: a little crazy plea for advice [Re: dlh61]
whome Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1734
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
HI DLH61

Sorry for your pain. I know that we survivors can be incredibly rough on our partners. More often than not it is not intentional, sounds weird but it is true.

You need to learn to control that which you can in your life and that thing would be your own reactions.
It is important to realize that you cannot control what he does, but you can control what you do. Also, write down a list of boundaries things that he has to do in order to stay in this marriage, this is another thing that you can control.

Join a CODA group or an Al-Anon group as the struggles these partners go through are the same as what you are going through. It is an incredible support structure and what you really need right now is a group of loving supportive people in your life.

Keep asking questions and keep coming back

Heal well
Martin
_________________________
Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

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#408771 - 09/03/12 09:45 AM Re: a little crazy plea for advice [Re: dlh61]
whome Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1734
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Sorry double post


Edited by whome (09/03/12 09:47 AM)
_________________________
Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

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#408883 - 09/04/12 10:46 AM Re: a little crazy plea for advice [Re: dlh61]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
(Continued from above.)

About 10 years ago, I thought I had a handle on myself. I had sworn that I would take what had been done to me and the truth about my inner turmoil to the grave, and it seemed like that would work. Except that there were lots of things in my life that I was doing that I didn't like, and yet I was doing them anyway. I would tell small stupid lies, and then just kick myself and hate on myself for doing so. I didn't understand why. I thought it meant that I was just a pathological liar, which I didn't think of as a sickness. I thought of it as a bad thing. A failure. A loser. A morally empty person. Which I'm not. I feel for people. I experience love. I like to think of myself as a great father. And a great husband and partner. I want nothing more than to be with my family. And yet I was tortured and ashamed. And I kept all that shame and pain to myself. It seemed too hard to let it out.

And here's another thing that wasn't working. I felt endangered all the time. I interpreted things as attacks on me or my loved ones. And I responded aggressively, because aggression seemed to make me safe. I would say really fucked up things as I was getting geared up for a fight. Once, I told a guy that I was going to put his feet behind his head and rape him. I interpreted that rhetoric as just my ability to say anything necessary to set someone off so I could justify a fight. But now I see that it was all related to me verbally assaulting people more or less the way I was assaulted. I was continuing the cycle of violence. And the screwed up thing is that I'm a really nice guy. I want nothing more than to please people. I like to be friends. Most people who meet me have no inkling that I can flip a switch and transform into a very angry person. I've gotten in fights in parking lots. I've put people into humiliating situations. I've shouted them down in front of family and friends. I beat up some young idiots once, for digging through the trash in my alley. They were up to no good. They were looking for credit card receipts to steal card numbers. But I didn't need to bloody them the way I did. When the cops came, they didn't know whether to arrest them or me! And that happened right before a dinner party at my house. So after the cops left, I walked back home, dusted off my hands and sat down with family of professionals with young kids! I've had guns pulled on me. I've headbutted people. I've been headbutted.

Anyway, I was also really fantasizing heavily about sex with just about every woman in my life who was not related to me. I taught college, and some students were seriously into me. Some pushed hard for affairs. I pretended like I didn't understand that that's what they were doing. I would m'b about them. Fantasize about them. At the time, I didn't realize it, but I was using the college's code against inappropriate relationships between students and professors as a boundary, to help me live by the values I want to live by, because I didn't have any boundaries when it came to sex or physical intimacy. Plus, anyone with a lack of sexual boundaries both repulsed and fascinated me. A woman acting sexually aggressive toward me would literally make me feel jittery and sick, but also excited and turned on.

I had learned by experience that sexual fascination would fade. That I could m'b by myself (I didn't tell my wife, except when we were fighting about out lack of sexual relationship, and I used my m'b as a way to admit the ends that I was forced to go to because she was frigid. Now I know that she wasn't frigid. She just didn't feel sexy with a guy who a) always seemed to be about to stick his dick in her and b) didn't give her any emotional intimacy and c) seemed distant and spaced out all the time.

Anyway, at a new job I became friends with another department head. She was married with kids, which I liked because it seemed safe to me. I could be friendly and connected to married women, because it seemed to me that it was safe. I was often friends with their husbands. And I've always been the kind of guy who truly listens to and appreciates women. And yet I'm a guys guy. And anything I felt like a friendship with a woman was getting close to the line, I'd spend time with her husband. The freaky bounderyless feeling would fade. Things would go back to normal, and life went on. (Of course, I'd be m'b'ing about them constantly in private moments. Fantasizing. All in my head. Oh yeah. Plus, whenever I could, I'd be seriously into porn. I watched gross stuff. Guys painfully fucking doped-up girls who cried with mascera (sp?) streaming all over on their faces. "Stuffing." Where two dudes stick their dicks in a woman's vagina at the same time. Anal. All this is stuff I've never done. Don't want to. But it added to my sense of shame and sickness, I think. So I'd have a free moment. Cuss at myself about wanting to watch something gross. Tell myself not to. Then I'd give in to the grossness of it. I'd watch it and masturbate. And then I'd hate myself, rid my computer of the traces of the images, and then maybe force myself to do whatever I had on my plate... work or whatever. Or else I'd start the shame-cycle again.

Anyway, I became friends with this lady at my work. She said stuff that I've learned since then are all warning signs. She would tell everybody in the office that she hated her husband. She'd joke about no sex, or bad sex with her husband. In meetings with me, she'd talk about all kinds of personal stuff. She told me that she had been raped in college. She told me that she "healed" herself by taking back her own sexuality by targeting and seducing me. In small groups, she would talk about how when she first moved to that area where we lived that she was a "hot little number." And that she would do things, like when she was a waitress, to tempt the husbands and dads. She'd put her boobs in their face, or bend over so her ass was just inches from them. She pointed out where she had sex with her husband in basically a public place, when a bunch of us were going to lunch (the two of us were walking together, talking about work stuff). She once told me that she was "dangerous." That just seemed stupid to me. How could she be dangerous? I had a blind spot for the danger she posed.

Also, much of my life, privately and publicly, was ruled by what I've learned to call "magical thinking." I'd think, for instance, that if I could dunk a basketball in a pickup game that I'd be able to do something difficult at work. I connected all sorts of things together that way. If I volunteered somewhere, something good would happen to me in another part of my life. And things seemed to work that way. I would joke about this kind of thing, but I also believed it.

So this "friend" from work, one day, was overly forward to me. And I had been rehearsing to myself how to push her away. I said something like, Listen. Don't misinterpret my friendliness as anything but friendliness. I'm sorry if I've given you the wrong impression. But nothing about you or me is going anywhere.

She said, Yeah, too bad. Because I would fuck your lights out.

I was stunned. And didn't say anything to her. Later, she apologized and said she hoped we could still be friends. Then we ran into her husband, and she was lovey-dovey with him. I was shell-shocked, fascinated, revolted, excited.

I guess, looking back, I saw in her someone who also had dual or multiple worlds. She pretended to be a loving mother and wife, but was also a sexually depraved freak. I also, on some level, understood her as a sexual predator, and I was terrified of that but at the same time fascinated, and, freakishly, defense-less.

Some weeks later, I was getting a beer after work. She showed up. I left. She was right behind me. And as I got ready to cruise home, she gave me a fast but fleshy and wet peck on the lips and said she would be home alone.

I was sickened. Freaked out. Fascinated. And a few days later, I found myself fucking her. At some points, I thought it was fun. Other points I felt like I was a million miles away from myself. Everything about her was just over-the-top sexual. She told me my dick was huge and that she wanted it. We only had sex a few times. Each time I told her it was the last. After the second time, she said, Oh, this was the last time like last time was the last time?

She played like a victim sometimes. She claimed that I grabbed her arm once just like the guy who had raped her had. She said she was desperate for my friendship. Each time I tried to create more distance from her, she'd said she needed to talk to me, or to someone. She said, if I didn't meet up with her, she'd tell her husband. I often felt like I was a million miles away from myself. I didn't know it, but that was disassociation. I would feel emotionless. And I was desperate to be true to my wife. I felt horribly guilty. And yet I continued to betray her.

Finally, after I'd left my job (in part to get away from her) and stopped seeing her, her husband found out the truth. She told me that he had spied on her computer, but it the affair had stopped by then. I don't know what's true about that. I told my wife. But my confession was thick with lies. I started by saying I had kissed her but not had an affair. Then I told her that I had had sex with her once. And then I admitted to the other times. She demanded to know why. I didn't know. But I did know that I couldn't save my marriage without therapy. So I started calling therapists. I left message after message at the after hours answering services, Hi, I'm a husband who just had an affair. I'm trying to save my marriage. Please call me back.

By the next day, I had found a therapist. My wife and I started to see her together. I did my best to be honest. I did my best to tell the truth about the facts and my feelings. I heard stuff from my wife that blew me away. Like basically that she had felt as if my love for her early in her life had saved her, provided a way forward for her in a tough time. I had never known that. It really just renewed my commitment, my love for her.

At that time, I was sleeping in the guest room. And one night, my wife said she wanted to kiss. We kissed passionately and made love. She was furious at me. It was weird. It was the hottest sex that we'd had in years. And sometime a few weeks later, we were sitting on the couch, talking, and I found myself saying, Fucked up shit went down when I was a kid. She said, What do you mean? And I told her. I cried, which is not easy for me. I couldn't believe it. It felt like an enormous weight was off my shoulders. Then I told my therapist. I got another therapist, too, who could prescribe medication. And since then it's been a long road to healing.

I know now about how my boundaries were destroyed as a kid. I understand how buried secrets can fester and continue to fuck up my life. I can see now how I perpetuated a shame cycle for myself, how I put myself into danger by doing things that I thought were making me safe.

It has been a hard road. In those first few months after my admission, I would be overcome with memories so real that it seemed like they were happening in front of my eyes! Horrible memories. I also understand that I victimized my wife and family by not healing myself. Plus, I can see that there are degrees of betrayal, lies that are painless and others that are painful. I never could see that before. I took them all as evidence of moral corruption.

It's not easy for me to stay present, for me to keep from having a secret and shameful life. But I've begun to see how to step back from myself and a situation, to analyze it and make choices about what I want to do, how I want to react. That lets me be a better partner. I'm a man now. And I think I had never resolved myself as a boy before.

There are some strange effects in my life. For one thing, I always had sharp, crystal clear memories of my childhood. I never thought about my abuse consciously. I'm talking about different memories. Basically, I have often thought and felt like I had something near total recall of my childhood, starting at when I was about 3, which was long before the molestations/rape/abuse. All that stuff has begun to fade. In fact, it's fading so much that I don't even notice as its fading.

It's been four years since the affair. I feel that I'm on a different path, almost a different person. I don't want to get too comfortable. But I think I'm lucky. I've had great role models, and I know what I want to be in life. I'm a better partner. A better husband. A better dad. A better self. Things aren't perfect at home. But they're pretty good.

Anyway, the things that I think are really necessary are these:
Anyone who's going to recover from abuse has to honestly deal not just with the abuse itself and the shame/pain/guilt/anger/secrecy that's related to it, but also with the fucked up stuff he/she has done to other people. I won't even characterize what I've done, but it hasn't been pretty. And it must be accounted for. Otherwise the therapy and stuff feels fake and worthless.
The abuse victim truly cannot use the abuse as a shield against accountability, or as a way to get sympathy. That's harmful, not helpful. And it's just another way to continue the cycle of abuse.
It takes a LOT OF HARD WORK, EMOTIONAL WORK, RELATIONSHIP WORK. A person has to listen to his/her partner. It takes bravery. It's strange, but abuse creates as many barriers as it destroys. It creates intimacy barriers and honesty barriers. As much as the abuse has to be dealt with, those new barriers have to be torn down, taken apart. And like anything involving the removal of barriers, it's hard, painful, scary and stressful. And it takes time.

Good luck. Wow. I just wrote a novel. I hope you poured self a big cup of coffee before you sat down!

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#408996 - 09/05/12 03:02 AM Re: a little crazy plea for advice [Re: Robert1000]
Julia Offline


Registered: 11/05/08
Posts: 59

ALL HAIL ROBERT1000!!!

I started coming here 4 years ago, now I check in a couple times a month. This is officially on my favorite top 5 posts!!! A wonderful, informative read..... Thank you!!!

Bravo!!!
Love,
Julia

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