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Carrie

Confused, angry, hurt, upset!

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Hi everyone, 

To cut a very long story short my husband has a sex addiction. He did mastubate to porn about 4-5 times weekly (to relieve feelings of stress, anger, upset - never really for sexual desire) and used online apps and sites to chat to women, obtain pics/videos etc. Often he was verbally abusive to these women also, insulting the way they looked.  When this all came out we had some counselling and realised he’d experienced a traumatic childhood. Physical abuse by a step father, enmeshment by a narcistic mother who controlled him. He was left with very low self esteem and confidence and used porn/sex addiction to make himself feel better. He tended to act out following contact with his mother who often belittles, controls, guilt trips and manipulated him. 

Following counselling he was going to do work on his past and try and recover. He didn’t do this but he did manage to refrain from acting out for 4 months. 

Recently he became low in mood and verbally abusive to myself (he tends to do this before acting out) and he replapsed. 

He promised this time he would get help but 4 weeks on he is yet to engage in therapy as he feels he now has it under control. 

I know he doesn’t. The wounds of his childhood are still there and I know without dealing with these underlying issues he will relapse again. He won’t listen to me. 

I have and am reading everything I can get my hands on, learning as much as I can in an attempt to help him but without him engaging I know it’s useless. I feel like I’m sat here waiting for him to mess up again one time too many so I can leave, I don’t want to leave but I can’t spend my life waiting for him to deal with this. It’s driving me crazy. I almost wish it was me with the addiction as he’s far less motivated to fix it. 

Im struggling so much with anger. Anger towards his family for causing it, anger towards him for not stepping up and taking some control and I’m fast losing respect for him. I feel like it has taken over our lives and I can’t remmember the last time I felt happy or content. I’m always reading/thinking/observing his mood. 

I feel like I’m  going crazy and he’s slowing breaking me down. I’m not sure why I’m writing this or what I think any of you can say to help but I’ve nowhere else to turn. I guess I’m wondering if he’s a lost cause? If anyone truly recovers? What I can do to help him realise he needs help? 

Thanks for the ear x

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Hi Carrie,

I'm about 4-1/2 years sober from pornography and alcohol, so maybe I can lend some insight. And while I'll always be an addict, I believe I am truly recovered.

It sounds like he started to do the recovery work, but stopped. That's like filling a tub with only a few centimeters of water and calling it good. It's better than an empty tub, but it's still not suitable to bathe in.

I don't know exactly his situation, but he sounds a lot like me when it came to how he treated the women on the other end of the computer. It not only was about "getting back" at women for those who physically, sexually and emotionally harmed me when I was young, but it was also a way for me to exert control over the situation and my life.

Here's the kicker...in my intense therapy, it went even deeper than the stereotypical abuse stuff and it took a long time to get there. That road is paved with sadness, anger, embarrassment and shame. Its much easier to say "Hey, I got this" on your good days than to delve into that deep subconcious stuff, but for me, it has changed my life for the better, and I think my wife and kids would agree.

Be angry at the addiction, not at him. Anger, resentment, judgment...they come natural...but they only make the situation worse. Why would he open up to somebody who harbors such negative feelings toward him?

If you haven't read everything yet, just type my name into Amazon and you'll find a memoir I wrote that was published earlier this year. Good luck, and remember to keep yourself healthy. You're the only person you can truly control.

Joshua Shea

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Just a small point really: You will find a lot of advice on line and elsewhere about how you should react to this situation. My partner is currently doing the same and, while you'll find serious and detached expertise like Joshua, a lot of these support groups start from the point of view that you should end the relationship before anything else. You may need to search quite hard to find support if you want to stay with him. My partner now has two good sources of support, both of which at least accept the idea that the relationship can continue. One is face to face, the other is by phone; the internet doesn't hold all the answers.

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Hi Joshua,

Firstly thank you so much for your reply. I’m really glad your still in recovery and your life is better for yourself and your family. 

Yes that exactly it, he only some of the work.  I think your exactly right, the way he treated those women was his way at hitting back at women for his own abuse and his way of feeling he had some control. 

I try so hard not to be angry at him. I 100% realise this was not his fault and he didn’t ask to be raised as he was but I can’t help but feel angry at him for not trying his absolute best to fix the problem. He currently thinks he is “cured” now he knows  why he did it and he is still refusing any more therapy. He also thinks that I should be moving on and should stop “nagging” him about it, asking him to go to therapy, 

I completely understand what your saying about me making it difficult for him to be open and honest with me  but I know I’m my heart that without addressing the problem he will fall back into old habits. I just wish he would engage in with me and in therapy.  Any tips on how to help him see that he needs help? 

I will try and look for ypur book book on Amazon. 

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

Carrie 

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Hi Outofwishes,

Thanks for the reply. Yes a lot of what I read either states that I should leave or that I should be understanding to his hurt. Nothing really talks about staying and managing my own hurt. I realise he needs support and understand but feel support and understanding for partners is lacking. I feel completely alone, isolated and lost. I have only told one friend as I know the rest will not be supportive. Where has your wife accessed support from? 

Yhanks, Carrie. 

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1 hour ago, Carrie said:

I try so hard not to be angry at him. I 100% realise this was not his fault and he didn’t ask to be raised as he was but I can’t help but feel angry at him for not trying his absolute best to fix the problem. He currently thinks he is “cured” now he knows  why he did it and he is still refusing any more therapy. He also thinks that I should be moving on and should stop “nagging” him about it, asking him to go to therapy, 

I completely understand what your saying about me making it difficult for him to be open and honest with me  but I know I’m my heart that without addressing the problem he will fall back into old habits. I just wish he would engage in with me and in therapy.  Any tips on how to help him see that he needs help? 

This is tough because everyone is different. I'm working with a therapist on a co-authored book geared toward women in your situation. He and I had a discussion about this very topic last week, when the husband said he's done and you need to stop nagging.

There are women out there who find out and experience severe betrayal trauma. I get that you're hurt, but I don't think you're in this group. These are the women who can focus on nothing else and even when their husband goes above and beyond, they simply can't get over it. 

I think you're in a situation where he doesn't want to do the work, doesn't want to face what this is really about and may not have the tools needed to prevent relapse. You really only have two choices here. You either just accept where you are with this and move on with your life or you create some boundaries/ultimatums. The trick with those is that you actually have to be willing to enforce some kind of sanction if he breaks them, up to and including leaving. You have a right to a marriage with a healthy, non-addicted partner. He either wants that marriage too, or you're not on the same page. 

I can't tell you exactly why he doesn't want to do the work, but it's never a good sign for a healthy future. How badly you want that future is up to you.

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Please, please, please get that book out there.  It is very much needed.  There is so little out there for us. 

No I agree, I don’t think I’m there.  When he engaged in therapy and made good progress to recovery I got my own therapy and started moving on. I did talk about it less and less and we rebuilt a lot of our relationship, we were both doing well and making good progress until he replaced. Now we’re back at the start but I don’t think that’s my trauma, I think that’s the relapse. 

I think your completely right and that’s why I’m stuck. I hadn’t thought it like that but ultimatums that I’m willing to stick to may be my only option. Possibly I give him the benefit of the doubt and state that if he relapses  again that he goes into therapy or the marriage is over. If he doesn’t relapse then great, we continue to work on our marriage and I apologise for doubting him.  If he does relapse then I know he can’t do it alone and if he’s unwilling to get help then I know it will happen over and over, which pretty much means our marriage is over and I follow through with the ultimatum. 

Thank you very much for the advice and listening to me.  Best of luck with your new book. 

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