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#59428 - 05/04/04 05:48 PM Re: No excuses for infidelity
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by theo:
pas, you stated that so long as the male survivor is trying to overcome the negative escape patterns that there should be support as well as addressing the valid anger over the crossed boundaries. this is true. the only thiing i wanted to convey here in response was that if the male survivor was trying but still struggling with the desire to escape the same way (one statement here: infidelity is dangerous, once the behavior is faced it is up to the survivor to not do it again, but the desire will still be there...once we know we are responsible to accept what that entails to the best of our ability). two things must be happening for this to work. the survivor must not be condemned for past behavior, though we should be held accountable to a point and both work through the justifiable anger. both partners deserve to be validated in their emotions. if, however, the past is continuously held over the head of the survivor, then no progress can be made.
Yeah I totally agree. good points...

I guess from the partner side of the fence there is only so much pain that a partner or a family member can endure... unconditional love is ideal but everyone has their limits.... but totally agree with your point where a partner and a survivor have had a lot of water under the bridge that a relationship should not continue if the partner continues to hold it over the survivor's head. If the partner chooses to stay with the survivor even after infidelity, there has to be a clear commitment and clear awareness by the partner to NOT hold it over the survivor's head. If the partner cannot do this they should seriously think about ending the relationship, and in turn, the survivor must try to accept the partner's decision to leave.... again..sometimes there's only so much pain you can take.

Sorry if my contribution to this post is less than objective - I have been having serious dad problems lately.


P


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#59429 - 05/04/04 05:50 PM Re: No excuses for infidelity
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
April,

I was speaking with someone else on this site today about the insecurity we feel as partners, about many aspects of our relationships. As Ed pointed out, the issues we face as partners include more than, and can go deeper than, infidelity. And I think it's possible that, just as survivors sometimes make their childhoods work overtime to compensate for/excuse their adult choices (in the way that PAS describes), we as partners sometimes do the same with the more glaring negative behaviors such as infidelity or drug abuse.

Maybe this is because it's easiest for us to see, or because it feels more "legitimate" to have this kind of focus for our insecurities and hurt?

If your husband had never cheated on you but still kept his secrets from you, would you have any less of a right to feel betrayed? What if you'd learned about the abuse but had yet to discover the infidelity? Would you still feel hurt and betrayed on discovering it? No, there's not REALLY infidelity in too many pizzas and beers, but if you're sitting at home by yourself every night while he's at the pizza place with friends, does it really feel better than sitting at home every night while he's telling you he's at the pizza place but really looking for sex?

Intellectually, I think it's pretty easy for us to say, our feelings are our feelings and we can have them no matter what. But emotionally, it feels strange for me to think that I might be more hurt by the general selfishness and distance that characterized the period during the "acting out" than the affair itself. And I know how weird that would probably sound to all the "normals" too... even if I had any friends who knew the whole story of his abuse, infidelity, etc., I'm sure if I told anyone but you guys that I was hurt more by a few years of constant medium-level crappy treatment than I was by a year of infidelity, they'd look at me like I was nuts.

But, compared to the way I was treated, it's easy to believe that the infidelity had nothing to do with me. Even if our true love couldn't have kept him from ignoring the compulsion to act out, why didn't it keep him from treating his family badly? That's where the "I love you, I'm sorry" felt like a lie to me, not in the acting out.

Until I came to terms with this, it was hard for me to look past the past, because I was trying to heal from the wound that wasn't hurting anymore--and how do you say to your boyfriend, "No, honey, I don't want to talk about Ms. X, I want to talk about how you never put the kids to bed?" :rolleyes:

My point, April, is that while the infidelity and betrayal might be the conspicuous sore point in your marriage, healing that wound all by itself won't fix everything--and in some ways, it's not the most important thing that needs healing. If his infidelity is over with, and you're still feeling as insecure and personally hurt as ever, there may be other factors there that need attention as well.

SAR


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#59430 - 05/04/04 07:38 PM Re: No excuses for infidelity
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
April
Quote:
It makes it really hard to believe that your partner loves you when they can perform these acts and then come home, look you in the eye and tell you they love you.

It makes one feel that they are dealing with someone that has no conscience.
I understand totally how hard it is to believe that we still love our partners while we act out.......

But I have always had a conscience, and it's always been active. That was one of the components that I call drivers.
What I subconciously craved was 'degradation'. The effects of the abuse, the resultant PTSD and all the other negative effects I had compounded together to tell me "Dave, your worthless" That was my life>
_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#59431 - 05/04/04 08:11 PM Re: No excuses for infidelity
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
SAR
Quote:
Intellectually, I think it's pretty easy for us to say, our feelings are our feelings and we can have them no matter what. But emotionally, it feels strange for me to think that I might be more hurt by the general selfishness and distance that characterized the period during the "acting out" than the affair itself.
This is what Linda often says to me, and what she said the day she discovered I had acted out.
The major hurt was from the neglect, the lies, the feeling of being frozen out, me not trusting her with my worst secrets and all those peripheral feelings she felt that surrounded not only my acting out but the previous years as I'd gone off the rails.
She was even apologising for reading my journal and discovering my acting out ! she actually felt guilty about doing that, and still does to this day.

My journal described a day, that she recognised, and basically said "I went to a toilet at ***** and ****** *** a stranger". There was no amount of lying that was going to get me out of that !
But this act that had been exposed in print and sat on the kitchen table between us didn't become the main focus of the long long talk we had.
What Theo ( are we long lost brothers ? ) says -

Quote:
two things must be happening for this to work. the survivor must not be condemned for past behavior, though we should be held accountable to a point and both work through the justifiable anger. both partners deserve to be validated in their emotions. if, however, the past is continuously held over the head of the survivor, then no progress can be made.
just happened that night between my wife and I.
It was such an incredible even in my life that I'm crying now just thinking about it.
Somehow she found the compassion, love or whatever to support me, and therefore us, through all this.
Yes, I had to be accountable - big time accountable - and I still feel that I got off lightly in some respects, or did I ? How much work have I done since to ensure I never go to those dark places in my mind again ?
However much it's been the deal was worth it, and that's not the way to look at it really.

Linda's greatest attribute throughout all this, and all the other problems we have encountered, is that she never drags up old issues and beats me with them. And thankfully I don't believe I do either.
Theo's right, with that attitude nobody moves forward. In fact I think that I for one would have left our marriage long ago because I detest having the past thrown back at me.
I belive fervently that I have to be accountable at the time and stand by any and every assurance I make about my future behaviours, but I want to move on - not back.

Also the point about 'infidelity' was discussed at length when we talked, if I had entered into any kind of relationship, even meeting someone by arrangement, then I'd have been out on my arse.
But in 30 years I've NEVER strayed in the sense of seeking an alternative, even when I've been pursued by the tart at work ! I have always been able to resist in that sense, in fact it's more than 'resist' - I just have no interest in going outside my marriage because 'that' has never been the problem - the inside of my head was the problem.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#59432 - 05/05/04 03:03 AM Re: No excuses for infidelity
Tribear Offline
Member

Registered: 11/09/03
Posts: 66
Loc: USA
Quote:
Originally posted by April:
Hi All:

Thanks for your posts. They always help...

I have been struggling for eight months. I don't know that I have it in me to look past this. I don't think that it is my pride. I think it is more of an insecurity issue...

Thanks for providing hope.

April
Dear April,

Having read the above words, I'm not afraid to write this to you now. You seemed very angry, and I didn't want a war, or to cause more harm either.

While visitors have free access to reading the posts in the male survivors section, the posts are written with other male survivors in mind. That calls for some filtering by visitors to avoid being traumatized, or judging too quickly. Put another way, this is a tough place to visit. The posts can be very candid, self-exposing and even self-deprecating, and therefore very painful and triggering.

So first, I hope you realize that "acting out" is a generic term we use that covers a multitude of things, including cutting oneself and getting drunk, as mentioned. It also includes sexual behavior, of course.

When we post, we don't necesarily specify which of those it is, because SOMETIMES the 'what' is not the issue of danger for us. Instead, sometimes it's knowing we've still got the acting-out 'monkey on our back' that is of itself so depressing, and can lead to more self harm. The monkey is as pretty and welcome as a dirty little leech, and I hate the power he has over me. "Is it his strength, or my weakness that is causing the real problem here? Does it even make a difference?" The answer to those questions cause me to struggle for my sense of identity, and sometimes give in to self hatred, just wanting to give up. BTW, I'm not sexually cheating on anybody. I've been alone for 11 years, and I hate it. It's part of the 'price' I'm paying for being abused. Add to that the monkey thing, and maybe you can see the frustration.

Anyway, brass tacks: For the whole world, the question of sexual betrayal is filled with hurt, and now with more danger than ever. It's good to be cautious. Whether childhood sexual abuse is an 'excuse' or 'contributing factor' doesn't matter much if an HIV test comes back positive, does it? Aids is robbing some children of both parents today. And besides, how sad it is when it is spread to an unsuspecting, sexually-faithful mate, with no warning of dangerous behavior from the other partner. HIV/AIDS is not the only life-altering STD out there.

I know that being and feeling sexually betrayed can cause deep harm, and it makes for new victims. It is not a 'by the way' thing. The repurcussions can be similar to those of other types of victimization.

Summing it up, I respect your right to be safe and healthy, and to be angry about an affair. Also, your right to need a monogamous relationship in your life, and to clearly state your position about all those things to the other person involved. Understanding is important--not throwing the baby out with the bath water. But I've known a few who may have used their history as an excuse or license. Either way, as stated, the results can be the same. With our actions come consequences.

Those who are not acting sexually responsible or with consideration right now are works in progress I hope, and some will change. They should post if it helps them change. Where there is life there is hope, so it's said. On the other hand, some of us are fighting like he** to rise above it, and are succeeding right now. We are also here on this site.

I hope things in your life can be resolved to your health and happiness.

Sincerely,

Ed


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#59433 - 05/05/04 10:51 AM Re: No excuses for infidelity
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
So I unconciously searched for ever more effective ways to 'prove' to myself that I was the low life scum I believed I was. And what better than returning to the acts that put me in that situation ? It was as though I had finally reached my true level on the social ladder, the bottom rung with the rest of the perverts and low life.

But did I feel at home there ? no, it still wasn't enough. That's when I escalated the acting out to include the risk of getting caught, and losing everything. My wife, home, friends, family and job.
A bum in the gutter seemed to be my ambition.

As a survivor of abuse myself, but not sexual abuse, I can completely understand this... its interesting to see the correlation - my abuse was psychological and verbal, and when I get triggered I tend to verbally and psychologically (and physically at times) abuse myself.

I kind of look at the sexual acting out behaviour by SA survivors in that way - the stuff that Dave describes, and the other stuff, is NOT the stuff of love and daydreams.. its often degrading and humiliating, and I cannot see it being particularly enjoyable for the survivor to be engaging in. Even my own fiance's past sexual acting out before we met, he told me once that he felt AWFUL and HORRIBLE and disgusting when he did that stuff, and even more so afterwards, so dont be fooled that sexual acting out is anything but a horrible experience for the survivor. But unfortunately, when that stuff is going on, they are so wrapped up in their own pain, so mired in it, it controls them for a time.

I dont know if there's any pscyhological theory on this but the way I look at it, my own "acting out", which really manifests itself in self abuse (psychological self torture, mental/emotional distancing, hitting myself, verbally insulting myself) was MY way to manage the unfathomable rage that I had about what happened to me in my childhood. It matches the type of abuse that I got when young (psychological/emotional/verbal). Maybe if I was sexually abused too my acting out would include sexual behaviour - but I wasn't sexually abused and I dont engage in sexual acting out with others.

Here's my theory - when young, whenever I stood up for myself and protested the shoddy treatment I was getting, the abuse escalated. So then, what do I do with the anger I cannot do anything with? Its gotta go somewhere, so you turn it against yourself, make your reality actually match up with what your abusers are telling you that you are, and bingo, presto! No more anger. To me, that seems to be the most plausible reason why I, as an abuse survivor, sought and sometimes continues to seek to make myself feel bad - its what I learned was a "safe" way to manage the unbelievable quantity of anger that lurks in the soul of every childhood abuse survivor.

Anyhow, despite the explanations we have tried to provide it must be horribly tough to try and look at infidelity/sexual acting out in any kind of objective light. The pain that must be felt must make it really hard to see it as anything but a total betrayal and a slap in the face.

(((((Hugs))))))

Hopefully time, talk, and maybe some therapy will help you get some resolution on this. But it will take time... and that's ok. Its probably the hardest thing to deal with.. that this will take a chunk of time to heal from. Nothing anyone can say to take away that pain.

We're here for you.

P


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#59434 - 05/06/04 05:54 PM Re: No excuses for infidelity
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I was looking through my journal tonight, I've written since I first started therapy and haven't stopped yet, and came across an essay I wrote in 1999 that I called "Fantasy Island".
I write in there about the forces and influences that created the 'monster of fantasy' that led me to act out.

I've posted it on the Stories Forum, it's long winded and triggering, but for me still true - and frightening.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#59435 - 05/07/04 10:54 AM Re: No excuses for infidelity
darp123 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/25/03
Posts: 15
Loc: Maryland
April,

My H also had an affair. We had been married for 16 yrs. I found out about the affair and the childhood sexual abuse on the same night. The affair was with a coworker who had also been sexually abused as a child. I understand where you are coming from. It has been sixteen months tomorrow since I have found out about the Affair and SA. At 8 months, My h and I were barely starting to heal. My H and I are both in IC. He is working on his SA issues and also how that has affected every aspect of his life. I am in IC to work on my own healing and also work on our relationship. Every day gets better as he is starting to heal and I am working on getting past the affair. It has been a very hard and long process but I love my H with all my heart and I know he is a wonderful person that has so much hurt inside and he is really trying to heal.

I am also a member of Surviving Infidelity forum (Survivinginfidelity.com) and there are many members who have a partner that has been SA and been affected by adultery in their relationship. There is a very good article that was written by one of the members that discusses some of the vulnerabilites of sex abuse victims and how it relates to adultery or "acting out"
The thread is http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=23608


If you ever want someone to talk to you can pm me on Surviving infidelity. My name on that board is Stayintogether

Take care,
darp123


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#59436 - 05/07/04 07:27 PM Re: No excuses for infidelity
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Darp
that's a great thread you've linked to, and they seem to be a great bunch of people there.

But they could do with a link to MS at the end of that thread ! ;

Dave)

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#59437 - 05/07/04 07:57 PM Re: No excuses for infidelity
darp123 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/25/03
Posts: 15
Loc: Maryland
Good point Lloydy,
The people at Surviving Infidelity and MS are both wonderful people. I mostly lurk at both sites but have learned so much about SA and infidelity in the past 16 months just by reading. I have a hard time putting my thoughts into words. I will mention a link to this site to the person that wrote the article.


Take care,
Darp


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